Notes: Biggio unhappy with demotion
Second baseman vows to regain role as leadoff hitter
HOUSTON -- Craig Biggio has been dropped in the batting order before, but having been through this already doesn't mean the proud second baseman has to like it.
To go from leadoff to sixth is undoubtedly a demotion for the club's all-time hits leader. Biggio's not happy about it and expressed as much prior to Tuesday's game, which marked his third consecutive start in his new spot in the order.
"It matters to me," Biggio said. "Do I like it? No. I hate it. I know some people here are happy that I'm out of there again. For me, I know I have to start swinging the bat better. Once I start swinging the bat better, I'll be back at the top of the order. It's something that I've got to fix, watch video and make it right."
Biggio, who was dropped to sixth late last season, was hitting .228 through Sunday's game and finished the road trip with two hits in 17 at-bats. He was hitting .207 in May, but doubled in his first at-bat Tuesday, marking his 2,973rd hit.
Manager Phil Garner spoke with Biggio while the team was in Arizona and informed the second baseman of his plans.
"He called me in the office and told me what he was doing," Biggio said. "He's the manager. If I was doing better, I wouldn't be hitting there. It's simple as that. He's just trying do whatever he can to get us going. I need to swing the bat better."
Mike Lamb batted leadoff both times that Biggio hit sixth on the road, and Morgan Ensberg was moved up to leadoff on Tuesday. Garner vowed to move Biggio back to the top of the order when he starts hitting better.
"When the hits start falling for him he'll go right back," Garner said. "I don't like him down there, either. I like him at the top of the lineup. That's where he's done best."
Scott available: Luke Scott hasn't started a game in nearly a week, but the outfielder confirmed Tuesday he's not hampered by the physical problems that crept up during the recent road trip.
Scott was hit on the right knee by a Matt Albers pitch when Scott was standing in during a recent bullpen session, which sidelined him for a couple of days.
"It's swollen, it's still sore, but it's nothing that's going to keep me from playing," Scott said. "As long as I've got my full range of motion, that's all you need to play."
Lidge returns: Brad Lidge deemed himself ready to pitch prior to Tuesday's game and was counting on appearing in the opener with the Reds. Garner was hoping to rest Lidge one more day, but duty called when the skipper needed three relievers to get through the sixth inning.
Lidge entered the game with the bases loaded and no one out and kept the damage to a minimum, striking out Brandon Phillips before yielding a sacrifice fly to Adam Dunn. The inning ended when Edwin Encarnacion popped to Lance Berkman in foul territory.
Lidge hadn't pitched since last Monday in San Francisco. He was sidelined with a bruised right kneecap, which necessitated a trip to Houston so he could be examined by team doctors.
"He really wanted to throw tonight," Garner said. "We felt like if we could give him one more day maybe we could knock this thing out. We tried to get through without it, but we had to change gears and he came in and did a super job."
Said Lidge: "I've had a week off, and it wasn't a lot of fun for me to watch the series in Arizona and not be able to be part of it. I wanted to get back in the game. It was actually kind of fun for me. I wanted to get in the game, and being in a situation like that, it was immediate adrenaline. You're right in the middle of things. It was a lot of fun."
Minor League honors: Left-hander Philip Barzilla picked up two wins last week, stretching his winning streak to four games and improving his record to a Round Rock-best 6-1. With the effort, the Rice alum was named the Pacific Coast League's Pitcher of the Week.
Barzilla went 2-0 and allowed just one run in each of his two starts on the week, giving up nine hits in 14 innings of work. A native of Sugar Land, Texas, Barzilla is in his seventh professional season with the Houston Astros organization.
Barzilla is the first Express player to receive PCL Player or Pitcher of the Week honors this season.
Odds and ends: To make room for Jason Jennings on the 25-man roster, the Astros optioned left-hander Mark McLemore to Triple-A Round Rock on Tuesday. ... Right-hander Brandon Backe has not thrown a simulated game since May 12, and it looks like it will be at least a few more days before he can resume his rehab schedule. Backe, recovering from Tommy John surgery, threw on flat ground Tuesday.
Coming up: The Astros and Reds will meet again on Wednesday at Minute Maid Park, beginning at 7:05 p.m. CT. Houston left-hander Wandy Rodriguez (2-4, 4.45) will face right-hander Aaron Harang (5-2, 4.50).
Alyson Footer is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.