HOUSTON -- Right-handed reliever Jeff Fulchino, who had allowed a run in six of eight outings entering the opener against the Rangers, was deemed available to pitch Friday after undergoing an MRI on his right elbow and being examined by Dr. Tom Mehlhoff earlier in the day. The MRI came back negative.
Astros general manager Ed Wade said Fulchino's right elbow had been bothering him, especially when he threw his breaking pitches. One of the Astros' most reliable relievers last year, Fulchino had a 7.92 ERA in his first 26 games.
"He's going to be available -- as far as I understand -- tonight and probably through the weekend," Astros manager Brad Mills said.
Fulchino, claimed off waivers by the Astros on Dec. 8, 2008, went 6-4 with a 3.40 ERA in a career-high 61 games last year and was named the Astros Rookie of the Year by the Houston chapter of the Baseball Writers' Association of America.
Norris rejoins Astros feeling good
HOUSTON -- Right-hander Bud Norris, on the disabled list since May 24 with bursitis and biceps tendinitis, rejoined the team Friday and said he felt 100 percent healthy after throwing two Minor League rehab stints earlier in the week.
Norris allowed eight hits, five runs and three walks in 4 2/3 innings in his second rehab outing Thursday for Triple-A Round Rock, throwing 86 pitches (49 strikes). He threw four scoreless innings in his first rehab start Saturday at New Orleans.
"I felt good," Norris said. "I was glad to go down there and get some things and get the shoulder right. The first start went well. I pitched well yesterday. I was working on some changeups and stuff, but like I said, I felt good, and I'm ready to get out here and help the team."
Norris (2-5, 6.80 ERA in nine starts) will throw in the bullpen Saturday, but what happens next is anyone's guess. Brian Moehler, who took his spot in the rotation, is scheduled to start Saturday's game against the Rangers.
"They really wanted me to take care of myself and go from there, and I'm looking forward to helping these guys," Norris said. "I'm champing at the bit."
Brian McTaggart is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.