CINCINNATI -- Astros shortstop Tommy Manzella, who missed more than six weeks with a fractured index finger in the middle of the season, will try to make up for the at-bats he lost by playing for the Aguilas Cibaenas in the Dominican Winter League, which begins Oct. 22.
"My main thing is that I missed some at-bats during the injury, and I'm looking forward to getting those 150 at-bats back and giving myself enough time to rest up and get stronger for next season," said Manzella, who's hitting .217 with one homer and 19 RBIs.
Manzella has made 17 starts at shortstop since being activated from the disabled list on Aug. 19, and is hitting .234 since returning. He began the year as the starting shortstop, but has split time with Angel Sanchez since he returned.
"As a player, you like your offseason, because the whole season is a mental and physical grind," Manzella said. "That's important to me, but I wasn't able to get as many at-bats as I would have liked, so it was the kind of thing the Astros brought up and asked me if I would be interested."
Manzella hasn't played winter ball in the Dominican before, but is looking forward to the experience.
"It's very hard to get a shortstop job in the Dominican, and I was lucky to have a position to go play, and it was a situation that I couldn't pass up," he said. "It will be a good thing to go over there, get my work in and get prepared for next season."
Lyon has been bright spot for Houston
CINCINNATI -- After signing a three-year, $15-million contract with the Astros in the offseason, right-hander Brandon Lyon has certainly been a bright spot for Houston this year. He entered Wednesday at 6-6 with a 3.24 ERA and 19 saves in 76 games.
Lyon took over as closer at the beginning of August, when Matt Lindstrom began to struggle and eventually was put on the disabled list because of back issues. He has converted 19 of his last 20 save opportunities, and his 18 saves since Aug. 1 lead the Majors.
"You try not to get too high or too low during the season, and when you have bad outings, you feel like you're going to be consistent for a long period of time at some point," Lyon said. "You just look back on your season and see if you've been consistent, and that's how I rate how my season's going. We still have five more games to go, so I'm not thinking too much about the whole season."
Lyon is under contract for two more years and likes the direction of the team, which has posted one of the best records in the National League over the second half of the season.
"From where we've come, and we've made some moves and got some new players in here, the attitude has been good and people have been producing," Lyon said. "Everybody in the organization and the front office and the players, everybody feels good about what we have in this locker room and are looking forward to next season."
Astros manager Brad Mills admitted on Wednesday that it's unlikely center fielder Michael Bourn will be able to return by Sunday's season finale. Bourn has been out since injuring his oblique on Sept. 19. "He's progressing very minimally," Mills said. "They want him to run at full speed without pain before we put him in a ballgame as a pinch-runner or something. It's looking more and more like it's going to be tough [to get him into a game]." ... Right-hander Felipe Paulino rejoined the team Wednesday in Cincinnati after returning to Houston for the birth of his second child.
Brian McTaggart is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.