The Houston Astros have released pitcher Zach Duke and veteran pinch-hitter Jack Cust.

Duke was an All-Star with Pittsburgh in 2009. The 28-year-old left-hander gave up 25 hits, including five home runs in 14 1-3 innings of work this spring.

The 32-year-old Cust had been dealing with an elbow injury and was just 1-for-25 at the plate in 11 exhibition games.

General manager Jeff Luhnow said that Tuesday's decision to cut ties with the veterans had more to do with the emergence of some younger players who are battling for the same spots on the roster that Duke and Cust were trying to win.

“What we're talking about here is [that] the young players have stepped up and demonstrated they're ready to be on this ballclub," Luhnow said. "We had to have a contingency plan, which is to have some veterans around in case the young players showed they weren't ready. It didn't happen."

The Astros have 39 players left in camp.