Astros news and notes from a quiet Saturday
Astros manager Cecil Cooper said infielder Jeff Keppinger was likely unavailable for Saturday’s game because of a problem with his right hip. Keppinger left Friday’s game with a back strain.
“He’s on the table and probably not available tonight,” Cooper said. “They’re gong to give him some treatment and keep him inside. Probably late in the game he’ll let me know if he’s even available to do anything, and I don’t think he is. We’re short in that area, but [Edwin] Maysonet can play all around and [Aaron] Boone play, so we’ll be OK.”
Doug Brocail pitched in his first game in a month when he threw a scoreless inning Friday against the Phillies. He missed 24 games with a right shoulder strain.
“He threw strikes,” Cooper said. “He’s not the Brocail we’ve seen in the past. Not real crisp. He had two sharply hit balls. He did a good job and threw strikes, and that’s the main thing. He pitched down in the strike zone pretty good and you just have keep running him out there when you can.”
Cooper believes Hunter Pence turned the corner after struggling for most of August. Pence entered Saturday on a seven-game hitting streak, during which he’s batting .391. He went 2-for-3 on Friday with a two-run homer to right field.
“When he’s at his best, he drives the ball to right-center,” Cooper said. “Hopefully we’ll see him climb and get that average back up over .400 and start climbing.”