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09/25/09 9:15 PM ET

Astros shut down Norris as precaution

Rookie tossed career high in innings between Minors, Majors

HOUSTON -- The Astros have extremely high hopes for rookie right-hander Bud Norris, which is why they decided Friday to shut him down for the final week of the regular season.

Norris, who went 6-3 with a 4.53 ERA in 11 games (10 starts) since being recalled from Triple-A Round Rock on July 29, was scheduled to make two more starts in the regular season, but he's thrown a career-high 175 2/3 innings between the Major Leagues and Minors.

"He was a little more sore after his last couple of starts and took a little longer to loosen up after his last couple of starts," Astros general manager Ed Wade said. "I told him this can't be about the next two days, week, 10 days. It's got to be about the next two years, five years, 12 years of his career."

Norris, 24, threw 120 innings at Round Rock before logging 55 2/3 innings with the Astros. His previous career high was 102 2/3 innings in 2007 between Class A Lexington and Class A Salem. He threw only 80 innings last year at Double-A Corpus Christi because of an elbow strain.

"My body feels fine and my arm is getting a little tired, and that's going to happen this time of year," Norris said. "They're worried about my health, and I can only say 'Thank you' for that. I would like to be out there with my teammates the last couple of weeks, but we're looking long term. I totally understand."

Norris went 3-0 with a 3.00 ERA in his first three starts, 0-3 with a 13.11 ERA in his next three starts and 3-0 with a 1.56 ERA in his final four starts.

"We knew going in that he had the stuff to play at the big league level," Wade said. "We also know that this game requires adjustments to be made at the big league level. You have to figure out a way to make those adjustments, and he's shown he's got the stuff and the mental makeup to be successful."

Right-hander Wilton Lopez (0-0, 10.38 ERA in five Major League games) is scheduled to make his first career start Monday at Philadelphia.

"We like his stuff as well," interim manager Dave Clark said. "We like the way he commands the fastball. He does a good job keeping the ball down in the zone. He's going to be facing a tough lineup against the Phillies, but it's going to be a test for him. When we told him today, he was one of the happiest guys on the ballclub because he wants to start, and we're going to give him that opportunity."

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