Gregerson picked over Giles, retains role as Astros closer

NEW YORK (AP) Luke Gregerson held onto his job as the Houston Astros closer, beating out newcomer Ken Giles.

Astros manager A.J. Hinch made the announcement Monday after Houston's scheduled opener against the Yankees in New York was postponed a day because of wet and cold weather.

Gregerson is a 31-year-old right-hander who went 7-3 with a 3.10 ERA. He converted 31 of 36 save chances last season in this first year in Houston.

''He's got a slow heartbeat. He's got a real feel for how to pitch,'' Hinch said. ''His calmness in the intense moments are critical in giving the guy the ball the last part of the game.''

Houston acquired Giles from the rebuilding Phillies in December as part of a deal that sent 2013 top overall draft pick Mark Appel to Philadelphia. A 25-year-old right-hander, Giles was 6-3 with a 1.80 ERA in 69 games for the Phillies in 2015 and spent the final two months of the season as the closer, converting 15 of 17 save opportunities.

''Ken Giles will be used in a more versatile role,'' Hinch said. ''The titles and the distinction and the status are secondary to the goal of the night, which is to win the game.''

Gregerson and Giles did not discuss the decision with reporters in the Astros clubhouse.

''We've got a long career ahead of Ken Giles, so I think he can work his way into any role,'' Hinch said. ''So where he starts on April 4 versus what out he gets on any given day throughout the season could change.''

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