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04/23/08 7:50 PM ET

Astros dealing with slew of injuries

Bourn misses another; Wigginton, Rodriguez encouraged

CINCINNATI -- As expected, Michael Bourn was not in the starting lineup for the Astros' opener in Cincinnati on Wednesday, and the center fielder doubts he'll play Thursday, either.

Bourn was encouraged that he felt significantly better than he did when he first tweaked his left groin muscle while stealing third base Monday against the Padres. He's hopeful he'll be ready by Friday when the team begins a three-game series with the Cardinals in St. Louis, but he also wants to be careful not to push himself too quickly and, in his words, "do anything stupid."

"I don't think I want to rush it to be in there today," he said. "And probably not tomorrow. You don't want to rush it."

Manager Cecil Cooper wondered if Bourn is going through typical aches and pains that hit a young up-and-comer who is still adjusting to the strain of playing every day. After all, Bourn's job is quite taxing -- he covers a vast amount of real estate in center field and is steadily active on the basepaths. At the time of his injury, Bourn was leading the big leagues with 13 stolen bases.

Bourn doesn't think endurance has anything to do with his recent injury issues, but he did acknowledge that after serving as a part-time player last year in Philadelphia, he has had to adjust to a more rigorous schedule.

"Last year I didn't play every day," he said. "When you get back in the groove you have to get your body back accustomed to it. I don't think it has too much to do with it. I'm used to doing stuff every day anyway. That's how I came up from the Minor Leagues, I played every day. It's not a big deal. It won't take too much longer."

The list of walking wounded isn't limited to Bourn. Third baseman Ty Wigginton, out with a fractured left thumb, took batting practice on Wednesday and is scheduled to take ground balls while the team is in St. Louis this weekend.

"So there is a light," Wigginton said.

Wandy Rodriguez, who was placed on the DL after straining his groin during his last start, will throw a light bullpen either Friday or Saturday. The session will likely last between 10 and 15 minutes.

"I'm feeling a lot better," he said.

Brad Ausmus' occasional lower back stiffness reappeared in recent days, but this time, he doubts he'll need a cortisone shot anytime soon. Last June, Ausmus flew to Houston during a road trip in order to receive a shot.

"It's nothing major," he said. "It just flared up. I may have to get [a shot] eventually, but I'm not flying out to get one."

Ausmus entered Wednesday's game at first base in the eighth inning on Wednesday, and he is scheduled to catch Roy Oswalt in St. Louis on Saturday.

"He's a little stiff, but he could have played [Tuesday]," manager Cecil Cooper said. "I'm not concerned about him. He probably won't play before Saturday anyway."

Alyson Footer is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.