- Associated Press - Monday, March 17, 2014

KISSIMMEE, Fla. (AP) - Scott Feldman will start the Houston Astros’ opener on April 1 at home against the New York Yankees.

Feldman was 12-12 last season for the Chicago Cubs and Baltimore Orioles and signed a $30 million, three-year contract with the Astros during the offseason.

“If you look at his track record, the fact that he is a former 17-game winner and the fact that he gives us a great opportunity to win a ballgame every time he takes the mound, that’s why he’s our choice,” Astros manager Bo Porter said Monday. “He’s a strike-thrower, a competitor.”

Feldman is 51-56 in nine big league seasons, the first eight with the Texas Rangers. He has a 4.50 ERA in two games and six innings during spring training.

Bud Norris, Houston’s opening-day starter last year, was traded to Baltimore in July. Feldman will be Houston’s fifth different opening-day starter in five years.

“It’s pretty cool, something my family can enjoy hopefully,” Feldman said. “It’ll be a lot of fun, something that I’ll always remember. There’s always nerves. First game of the year. You just try to stay calm, go out there and try to have a good game.”

Feldman started Texas’ 2010 opener after a 17-win season.

“Rich Harden was there but he was kind of dealing with some arm issues at the time,” Feldman recalled. “That was probably not the original plan, but it was still pretty cool to get to do it.”

Porter declined to discuss other rotation plans. Brett Oberholtzer, Jarred Cosart and Dallas Keuchel are stretching out as starters, and Brad Peacock, Jerome Williams and Lucas Harrell are contending for the fifth spot.

“There hasn’t been much separation, and for me that’s a good thing because the more pitchers you have, the better, Porter said. “If all these guys continue to throw well, that’s a good problem to have.”

Oberholtzer pitched five innings and Williams six in an intrasquad game Monday.

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