© 2008 MLB Advanced Media, L.P. All rights reserved.

09/11/08 12:09 AM ET

Wigginton suffers setback in recovery

Veteran feels discomfort in strained groin; Backe tosses in 'pen

HOUSTON -- Ty Wigginton had plans to test his strained groin with running drills and batting practice on Wednesday, but he stopped the running part early when he felt discomfort in the injured area.

"I think if I would have cranked it up at all, it would have grabbed," Wigginton said. "I didn't want it to grab and set it back again, so I had to shut it down. So it wasn't as good as I hoped for."

Wigginton, who strained his groin running out a ground ball on Saturday in Colorado, hit off a tee and took batting practice and is hoping to be available to pinch-hit during the Astros' road trip next week.

In other injury news, Brandon Backe, who missed his start on Monday due to elbow tightness, threw a full side session in the bullpen on Wednesday and hopes to rejoin the rotation in the near future. He surmised Saturday may be a reasonable target date, but manager Cecil Cooper and pitching coach Dewey Robinson won't make a final decision until Thursday.

"I want to get back out there, obviously," Backe said. "It's just when's it going to be, how am I going to feel? None of those questions are able to be answered now. The bullpen went well, but a bullpen's a bullpen. It's not game-ready."

Backe called his recent setback "kind of extreme soreness or tendinitis" possibly caused by a grueling outing during his last start in Chicago.

"I threw 30 pitches in the first inning and was grinding to get through 4 1/3, 90-some pitches," he said. "I think it was overload in this particular point in the season, for myself, coming back from surgery. I got more sore than normal and I told them that, and they didn't want me to pitch. Hopefully, this is all the rest I need."

The Astros announced after Wednesday's game that Alberto Arias will start on Friday, in place of Wandy Rodriguez, who strained his oblique muscle after only 18 pitches in his last outing. He received a pain-killing injection on Tuesday.

Arias threw five scoreless frames in his first Astros start Monday in place of Backe.

If the Astros need a starter Saturday, Jack Cassel and Dave Borkowski are candidates to make the spot start.

Kazuo Matsui, who has been out since Aug. 13 with an irritated disc in his lower back, also received an injection on Wednesday. Cooper emphatically expressed his confidence the second baseman would return to the team this season.

"You better believe it," he said. "We want him back. He's a key part of this. We definitely want him back and we're anticipating him coming back."

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