MILWAUKEE -- The Astros' closer situation remains unsettled, thanks to the ineffectiveness of Francisco Cordero and the heavy workload placed upon Wilton Lopez, who was deemed to be unavailable on Tuesday after feeling tightness in his elbow while throwing during batting practice.
Prior to batting practice, manager Brad Mills said that Lopez deserved a chance to be the closer, though he said he isn't afraid to use him earlier if the situation warranted.
Lopez leads the bullpen with a 2.52 ERA in 40 games.
"I think the way things have gone, he deserves to be given that opportunity," Mills said. "I think we're really not going to name a particular closer as we go forward, but if there comes an opportunity to get some key outs in the seventh, eighth innings, we might use [Lopez] there."
Lopez, who experienced discomfort in his elbow in the past when used often, pitched three games in a row before Tuesday. Still, he was warming up in the bullpen and ready to go into the game.
"He wants the ball and wants in the game," Mills said. "We're still trying to monitor him a little bit, but we don't want to abuse him too much because of the arm problems he's had before."
Lopez missed 26 games in June and early July with a sprained elbow.
Cordero waiting to gain footing with Astros
MILWAUKEE -- Francisco Cordero is the first to admit that he's not getting it done. The veteran closer, who was acquired from the Blue Jays and took over as closer when Brett Myers was sent to the White Sox, is 0-3 with three blown saves in five games in a Houston uniform.
Cordero, who has 329 career saves, has been removed from the role, but for how long is anybody's guess.
"It's something I'm going through, but it's been like that the whole year," Cordero said. "The last month I pitched well was June, but other than that I've not been playing well. It's not like I haven't had the opportunities. They've been putting me in games."
Cordero blew ninth-inning leads in back-to-back games last week against Cincinnati, and after coming on in relief of Bud Norris in the seventh inning on Tuesday in Milwaukee, he proceeded to blow his third save.
"They brought me here because they thought it would work out, and it's not been that way," he said. "I think I can help the young guys here, but pitching the way I've been pitching is not what I want and not what they want."
Cordero, 37, hopes to get a few solid outings under his belt away from the pressures of the ninth inning with the idea of perhaps returning to the closer role.
"I just need to keep battling and trying to pitch and get right," he said.
After busy July, Astros quiet at Trade Deadline
MILWAUKEE -- The Astros were the busiest team in baseball in July, making five trades -- and acquiring 13 Minor Leaguers and two players to be named -- but general manager Jeff Luhnow let Tuesday's non-waiver Trade Deadline pass without making any additional moves.
Manager Brad Mills said that considering how much roster turnover the Astros saw in the last month, he was glad to see the Deadline expire and not have to say goodbye to any more players.
"I think there's a little bit of relief for everyone moving forward, because you know who's going to be on our ballclub, and these are the guys we're going with," Mills said. "Everybody was watching TV to see what's going on around baseball and in our division. There was a lot of interest there, but we can settle back and concentrate on what we do on the field."
Now that the Deadline has passed, deals involving players on the 40-man roster cannot be made unless the players have cleared waivers. In other words, a player must be offered to the other teams in reverse order of the standings, and if he is claimed by one of those teams, he cannot be traded. The club that placed the player on waivers can either withdraw the request and keep the player, or let the player go to the claiming team, which would then have the rights to him.