Some Astros news from Saturday morning

After about 48 hours of nothing but rain and two games that were washed out, sun came to Kissimmee on Saturday, allowing the Astros to play the Washington Nationals. Of course, the big news recently is Lance Berkman‘s knee surgery, which went off without a hitch.

Puma is expected to return in two to four weeks, which means he could be out of the lineup Opening Day. What the Astros are doing to make sure they’re prepared and how this affects the club will be the subject of a story posted later today at http://www.astros.com.

Remember, the Astros have a split-squad on Saturday, with Felipe Paulino starting against the Cardinals in Jupiter, Fla. Most of the regular starters are in Kissimmee for the Washington game.

Here are some other news items gathered pregame Saturday:

  • RHP Alberto Arias, who was diagnosed with right shoulder inflammation Friday, will now throw until Sunday, after which he will be reexamined. Arias said Saturday his shoulder felt better after treatment, and he could get a cortisone shot soon if he needs it.
  • RHP Brandon Lyon, who faced live hitters in the batting cage Thursday for the first time this spring, said Saturday he felt good. Manager Brad Mills said Lyon could face hitters again Sunday and even gave a hint to what is ahead: “We’re going to take it precautionary and bring him along slow. If he does throw well, it might in a couple of a days [when he gets in a game]. Let’s get through tomorrow’s hurdle first.”
  • RHP Brian Moehler, who was scheduled to start Friday’s game that was rained out in Dunedin, will start Tuesday’s split-squad game at the Yankees, Mills said. Moehler threw 61 pitches in a three-inning simulated game inside the batting cage in Kissimmee upon the team’s arrival from Dunedin on Friday.
  • With Opening Day nearly three weeks away and starters getting stretched out more in each start, the Astros will likely have to start sending players to Minor League camp soon. Here’s what Mills had to say about that: “We’ll wait and see. I haven’t sat down and talked to [GM] Ed [Wade] about it, but here becomes a time the guys that are going to be on the ballgame need to get regular at-bats on a consistent bases be ready. We’re not too far away from it, is what I’m saying.”
  • C Jason Castro is back with the club and was in the starting lineup Saturday against Washington. He missed two days of workouts earlier in the week. He said he had a fever of 102-degress each day.

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