Williams sets pitchers before spring training

HOUSTON -- Tim Redding was picked Thursday to become
Houston's No. 5 starter, joining a stellar rotation that includes
Roger Clemens, Andy Pettitte, Roy Oswalt and Wade Miller.

"I've made this decision and this is where we're going to
start," Astros manager Jimy Williams said. "I'm not going to go
into spring training like we did last year with four guys trying to
get the fourth and fifth spots in our rotation."

Astros pitchers and catchers report to spring training at
Kissimmee, Fla., on Feb. 21.

Redding competed with Jeriome Robertson for the final spot in
spring training last year. When the Astros cut Shane Reynolds, both
got berths.

"I'm happy to get a chance to verify myself for the good year I
had last year," Redding said. "I understand the tough decision
they made to make me the fifth starter."

Redding went 10-14 with a 3.68 ERA last season, and Robertson
was 15-9 with a 5.10 ERA. The Astros averaged 5.5 runs in
Robertson's 32 starts and 3.8 runs in Redding's 33 starts.

Williams will wait until spring training to announce who will
start the April 5 opener against San Francisco.

"I want to be in the same area code and zip code with those
pitchers when we let it be known who's going to be the opening-day
starter," Williams said. "We've got four guys who have been
opening day starters. You could put them in a hat and reach in and
take out one guy and they'd all be good opening day pitchers."

Robertson and Brian Duckworth, obtained from the Philadelphia
Phillies in the offseason, will compete for bullpen jobs.