Astros battling sickness

Second baseman Kaz Matsui was scratched from the starting lineup Sunday with flu-like symptoms, and he’s not the only player dealing with sniffling, sneezing and coughing. Tommy Manzella, Edwin Maysonet, Miguel Tejada, Michael Bourn, Humberto Quintero and first base coach Jose Cruz are also dealing with various illness issues.

“We could go around the clubhouse and say that about a lot of guys,” interim manager Dave Clark said. “It’s just out there right now, and hopefully we can over this thing pretty quick.”

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Roy Oswalt, who won’t pitch in the final week of the season, was kicking back and relaxing in the clubhouse prior to Sunday’s game and was nice enough to give me a quick update on his back condition. Oswalt, who has a bulging disk in his back, will be doing more cycling and swimming in the offseason to help strengthen his core.

Oswalt is going to cut down on his running, which means no more running stadium steps like he has done in the past.

“As far as core work, I’ve been doing the same thing all year,” Oswalt said. “The last days I’ve felt pretty good, but I’ve had eight days off. It’s the first time I’ve had eight days off in a row, so I think I just needed a little time.”

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Left-hander Mike Hampton, who underwent rotator cuff surgery on Sept. 15 and won’t pitch in 2010, made a visit to the clubhouse on Sunday and was still wearing a sling.

“I have a long way to go, but I should be alright,” he said. “Sleeping is the toughest part right now, but it’s better than it was. I’ll start rehabbing here in another week or so and go through the whole deal and get healthy and see if I can strike my kids out.”

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