ST. LOUIS -- Bill Hall returned to the Astros' lineup at second base Thursday after having the previous two days off. Hall went 0-for-3 with three strikeouts in Monday's loss to the Braves. Angel Sanchez started the previous two games at second base.
Hall was hitting .333 in the six games before Monday's hitless performance in Atlanta.
"I was feeling pretty good coming out of the New York series," he said. "I had the bad game in Atlanta, so I had the two days after [off]. I was feeling pretty good before [Braves starter Tommy] Hanson pretty much pitched well against the whole team, so it wasn't only me that wasn't seeing the ball off of him. I'm still working hard.
"I'm definitely not content with how I'm playing right now, and I'm working to try to get it better and it's going to get better."
Hall is making progress, entering Thursday's game with a .256 batting average (11-for-43) in May after batting .217 in April.
"He has swung the bat much better in the month of May," Houston manager Brad Mills said. "Being able to get Sanchez some at-bats had something to do with [Hall sitting out two games], and the matchups had something to do with it. All those things involved were to give him a little time. He's back in there and I'm sure he's ready to go."
Lee to serve as designated hitter in Toronto
ST. LOUIS -- With the Astros set to open Interleague Play in Toronto on Friday, manager Brad Mills said Carlos Lee will likely get the bulk of the time at designated hitter. Lee started six of the team's nine American League road games at DH last season.
Backup outfielders Jason Michaels and Brian Bogusevic stand to benefit from the presence of Lee at DH and figure to make at least one start each this weekend in left field.
"Any time you can get an opportunity to get some guys more at-bats and get some guys more playing time, that's big," Mills said. "Having Carlos DH is really nice. It will be nice when we start playing National League games again for those guys to have at-bats [during Interleague Play]."
Lee is a career .279 hitter with 34 homers and 134 RBIs in Interleague Play, and has more Interleague experience than any other Astros player. He's played 75 games as a DH and is a career .282 hitter with 15 homers and 60 RBIs in that spot.
Mills, who served as bench coach of the Red Sox for six years, understands the nuances of playing under AL rules.
"It's a different game," he said. "Games are usually a little longer in the American League."
This will be the Astros' first trip to Toronto, which is the only current Major League city in which they haven't played. The Astros went 3-12 in Interleague Play last season.
Astros manager Brad Mills said there's no timetable for the return of infielder Jeff Keppinger, who's been on a Minor League rehab assignment for more than a week. Keppinger had surgery Jan. 14 to remove a bone in his foot. ... Right-handed reliever Wilton Lopez, who was suffering from a high fever in Atlanta, has recovered and is available to pitch.
Brian McTaggart is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.