Friday morning Astros update

It’s a warm and muggy day here in Kissimmee, and the Astros survived a grueling three-day road trip across Florida and back and will play the Pirates at Osceola County Stadium. Roy Oswalt, who’s had two of his four starts rained out, will start today and could go five or six innings.

Bud Norris, who was originally scheduled to start in a Minor League game, will throw behind Norris. When asked about the change, manager Brad Mills said simply he wants to see Norris pitch. Norris lost some time with an illness, and Mills was to get an up-close look at him. Thus, Wilton Lopez and Sammy Gervacio will throw a Minor League game today.

The Astros also made some roster moves this morning, optioning left-hander Wesley Wright to Triple-A Round Rock and reassigning right-hander Shane Loux and infielder Oswaldo Navarro to Minor League camp. Wright told me he’s going to be in the rotation at Round Rock.

Here are some other morning tidbits, including some injury updates (I’ll have a full injury story posted later today on injuries):

  • RHP Brett Myers told me he felt a little stiff, one day after leaving Thursday’s game with a mild left groin strain. Mills said he doesn’t expect Myers to miss his next start, which would come against the Phillies on Tuesday in Kissimmee.
  • 1B Lance Berkman, who’s nearly two weeks removed from arthroscopic knee surgery, is making slow progress, but he’s still hopeful he will be ready on Opening Day. He still isn’t running or doing any baseball drills.
  • CF Michael Bourn (strained oblique) will get three to five at-bats in a Minor League game today, and if all goes well he could return to the Astros’ lineup Saturday. “He asked me if he could get five [at-bats] and I said the whole reason is we don’t want him to get too tired,” Mills said. “I said, ‘If you’re OK, I’ll trust you to go ahead and get five.’ We’ll see how it goes.”
  • SS Tommy Manzella (strained quadriceps) is steadily improving and he’ll take some ground balls today. Manzella said he ran at about 60 percent on Thursday with no problems. He’s hoping to get a few at-bats perhaps in a Minor League game this weekend and return to action sometime next week.
  • RHP Alberto Arias (rotator cuff impingement and weakness) will play light catch today for the first time since being diagnosed. He’s still likely headed to the disabled list, and Arias told me this morning he thinks he’s about two weeks away from perhaps getting into a game. It’s way too early to speculate about his return.
  • RHP Yorman Bazardo, who hasn’t thrown in nearly two weeks because of s shoulder strain, threw a bullpen Thursday and was encouraged. “It was good,” he said. “I have a lot of soreness today.” There are no plans to get Bazardo into a game at this point. Remember, Bazardo is out of options, so he would have to clear waivers when he’s sent down.

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