NEW YORK -- Astros assistant general manager Bobby Heck has signed seven more players who were selected in this week's First-Year Player Draft, bringing the team's total to 16 out of the 52 it drafted.

The players the Astros announced they had signed on Friday are outfielder Jordan Scott (picked in the 14th round), third baseman Tyler Burnett (17th), second baseman Josh Magee (18th), outfielder Daniel Adamson (20th), left-hander Travis Blankenship (31st), right-hander Michael Ness (33rd) and right-hander Brian Streilein (37th).

The Astros also signed 22-year-old shortstop Jonathon Merritt (University of Alabama-Birmingham) as a non-drafted free agent.

"We'd love to get everybody done as quick as we possibly can and get them all playing, because it's a benefit to us and a benefit to the kids," said Astros general manager Ed Wade, who hopes to have the club's top picks signed soon. "Bobby's given me feedback that as early as the beginning of the next homestand, we could have some guys at the upper levels done."

Needing DH, Astros first tab Michaels

NEW YORK -- With his team playing its first Interleague road game of the season, Astros manager Brad Mills started Jason Michaels at designated hitter for Friday's series opener against the Yankees. Mills said that left fielder Carlos Lee, who started all six games last year in which a DH was used, would likely start at DH on Saturday.

"I talked to the guys about it," Mills said. "Carlos really wanted to play left, at least tonight. He's probably going to DH tomorrow, but he really wanted to be in the outfield because I don't think he's fond of DHing very much.

"There are a lot of guys like that, who aren't used to it, that haven't done it a whole lot. That's fine with me. I don't have a problem with it. I'm just happy Michaels was able to get some at-bats."

Friday marked the first of six consecutive games in which the Astros will use the DH; they will travel to Kansas City next week. Houston will also employ the DH when it faces in-state rival Texas on June 25-27.

Astros' injured arms on the mend

NEW YORK -- Left-handed reliever Tim Byrdak rejoined the Astros on Friday in New York after missing the final three games of his club's series in Colorado upon traveling to Houston to be examined by back specialist Michael McCann, who gave him a cortisone shot on Friday.

"His range of motion improved immediately," Astros general manager Ed Wade said.

Byrdak was on the disabled list from May 4-24 with a right hamstring strain that was the result of a disc irritation in his lower back.

Right-hander Chris Sampson, on the disabled list with right rotator cuff tendinitis, is scheduled to throw a 15- to 20-pitch simulated game on Sunday at Double-A Corpus Christi. If all goes well, he'll pitch 15-20 pitches in a game on Tuesday for the Hooks.

"I'm excited to get it going again," Sampson said. "I've just got to knock the rest off. I've been out nearly two weeks, and I'm going to make sure everything is feeling all right and get back and at it."

Manager Brad Mills revealed that Matt Lindstrom didn't pitch in a closing role in Thursday's 5-4 win over the Rockies because he's dealing with back spasms. Mills didn't know if Lindstrom would be available for Friday's game against the Yankees until after the right-hander played catch during batting practice.

Also, righty Bud Norris is scheduled to pitch on Saturday in a Minor League rehab outing for Triple-A Round Rock. Norris has been on the DL since May 24 with bursitis and biceps tendinitis.

Back in Bronx, Meachem fond of new park

NEW YORK -- Astros first-base coach Bobby Meacham, who spent his entire six-year Major League career as a player with the Yankees, got his first look at the new Yankee Stadium on Friday. But before he entered the 2-year-old ballpark, he got a look at the giant hole where the original Yankee Stadium used to stand.

"It's kind of weird driving by seeing where the old stadium used to be, but it's a neat thing to see," Meacham said. "A buddy of mine who I spent a lot of time with in the offseason when I lived in New Jersey, he was in town with me today, and we drove around a little bit and he drove me to the ballpark. We were both kind of remarking how weird it was to see the big hole there that used to be the stadium."

That being said, Meacham, who never made it to the new Yankee Stadium last year because he was coaching in the Minor Leagues with the Phillies, said he was thoroughly impressed with the new ballpark.

"It's top of the line, obviously," Meacham said. "They've done things quite nicely here, and it's about time they got a new stadium. And they did it right."

Meacham was a career .236 hitter in 457 career games with the Yankees from 1983-88.