Saturday morning Astros update: Oswalt feels fine

The Astros finally got some good news on the injury front Saturday when center fielder Michael Bourn returned to the lineup after missing a week with a strained oblique muscle. Bourn, who batted lead-off, said he was completely over the injury and didn’t expect it to be a problem.

Elsewhere on the injury front, both Brett Myers and Roy Oswalt said they were fine and as of now they’re still expected to make their next starts. Oswalt will be examined in Houston on Monday after leaving Friday’s game with a strained left hamstring. Myers left Thursday’s game with a strained left groin, but should make his next start Tuesday.

“No problems, guys,” Oswalt told reporters Saturday morning.

Jason Bourgeois (hamstring) isn’t scheduled to return this week, and shortstop Tommy Manzella (strained quadriceps) could be close to playing in a Minor League game, he said. Also, catcher J.R. Towles is nursing a strained left hamstring and right-hander Yorman Bazardo had an MRI on his shoulder Saturday morning. 

“Everybody’s improving,” manager Brad Mills said. “We’re more concerned about Tommy’s lateral movement. On quick bursts, he still feels it. He’s able to hit and take some ground balls, but any sharp, quick movements [are an issue] and he’s going to need that.

“We’re going to extend him a couple of days until he feels like he’s able to do that. His pain level is much better. It’s s step in the right direction, but we’re waiting. Same way with Jason. He still feels it. We’re not even able to get them some at-bats in the Minor League facility.”

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When Oswalt and Myers return to action, Mills said he didn’t expect to try to use a designated hitter to protect them from running the bases and aggravating their injuries. But they might have to use the DH to get more at-bats for Manzella, Towles and Bourgeois.

“We have talked about that,” he said. “As of right now, we’re not planning to use the DH. A lot of that is going to have to depend on Tommy Manzella and J.R. Towles and Jason Bourgeois. We might have to give those guys some at-bats at designated hitter, so that becomes more of an issue.

“The situation of [pitchers] hitting and running the bases is more we’d like to see them put some bunts down and be able to move runners. I’m not concerned about how they run to first base or the bases or whatever. They’re smart enough to know they can’t really let it go swinging the bat and let it go running as well. It’s going to come down to those three guys and injuries more than anything else.”

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