07/19/10 9:20 PM ET
Fulchino, Moehler working toward returns
By Brian McTaggart / MLB.com
Manager Brad Mills said Fulchino, who's been on the DL since June 29 with left elbow tendinitis, would probably be sent on a Minor League rehab assignment if he keeps progressing. Moehler, who's been on the DL since July 8 with a right groin strain, has yet to have his future mapped out.
Fulchino threw 25-30 pitches in the bullpen, throwing all three of his pitches without pain.
"It's not a game situation, so it's not all-out like I would normally be, but for a bullpen [session], I felt it was pretty good," Fulchino said. "I felt good and I was able to throw all my pitches pain-free. It's a step in the right direction."
Oswalt expects to make next start
CHICAGO -- One day after being struck just above his left ankle on a batted ball hit by Pittsburgh's Pedro Alvarez, right-hander Roy Oswalt was adamant Monday that he is going to be able to make his next scheduled start Saturday in Houston against the Reds.
"I'll be fine for next start," said Oswalt, who is 23-2 with a 2.62 ERA in his career against the Reds.
Oswalt (6-11, 3.12 ERA) said he was fortunate the ball struck him on a boney part of his ankle, which lessened the swelling. Still, the area was bruised and painful on Monday. Oswalt was hit in the second inning of Sunday's 9-0 loss to the Pirates and managed to finish four innings.
"I knew it wasn't going to be good," he said. "I didn't know how long it was going to take, but I kind of started feeling it on my landing. I just worried about trying to change my mechanics and hurting something else. My mechanics have been good all year."
Oswalt said he will throw his routine bullpen session between starts, likely on Wednesday. He's one win shy of tying Joe Niekro for the franchise record of 144 career wins.
Hurler Majewski joins hometown team
CHICAGO -- Right-hander Gary Majewski, a native of Houston, got to fulfill a childhood dream Monday when he suited up for his hometown Astros for the first time in a Major League game. The Astros purchased the contract of the veteran reliever when Casey Daigle was designated for assignment.
"It's awesome right now, but it will be a lot better once Friday rolls around and I'll actually be at home," Majewski said.
Majewski, 30, went 3-2 with two saves and a 4.04 ERA in 27 games at Triple-A Round Rock this year, but hasn't pitched in the Majors since 2008 with Cincinnati.
"I had a rough start [at Round Rock]," Majewski said. "I had a little forearm tendinitis and gave up a few runs. I couldn't get rid of it and had a couple of weeks on the disabled list to let it rest and get everything right. During that time, me and [Round Rock pitching coach] Burt [Hooton] worked together, and he helped out with a few things to get on top of the ball, and it worked great."
A veteran of five Major League seasons with Montreal/Washington and Cincinnati, Majewski is 9-13 with a 4.61 ERA in 229 career games. He was drafted out of Houston's St. Pius High School by the White Sox in 1998.
Keppinger moves down to strengthen lineup
CHICAGO -- Astros manager Brad Mills wasn't happy with the way his club performed offensively in Sunday's 9-0 loss to the Pirates, so much so he spent much of the charter flight to Chicago following the game trying to figure out ways to get the bats going.
Mills unveiled a new lineup Monday night, moving steady Jeff Keppinger down in the order to strengthen the bottom of the lineup while flip-flopping Hunter Pence and Carlos Lee. Pence took over the No. 4 slot, with Lee hitting fifth in front of Keppinger, who has batted second most of the year.
"Kepp has done a great job for us all year, but we're not being able to utilize what he's been for us," Mills said. "His on-base percentage is huge, and you want that from your No. 2 guy, but we're not able to score him. He's scored 37 runs and he's been here all year.
"It's a situation I'm hoping that we'll be able to use his bat, because he is swinging the bat well, to drive in some runs. Hitting sixth and having a good hitter behind Carlos will get him some better pitches. Now Hunter is swinging the bat better, and I wanted to be able to split up Lance [Berkman] and Carlos. What this does is stretch out our lineup a little bit."
The Astros tied a season high with five runs and seven hits in the first inning Monday.
Astros infielder Geoff Blum, who underwent surgery July 7 to remove loose bodies in his right elbow, had the stitches removed over the weekend in Pittsburgh and will begin working on his range-of-motion activities. ... Right-hander Felipe Paulino, on the disabled list with right shoulder tendinitis, underwent an MRI in Houston on Sunday and is scheduled to meet with team doctors on Tuesday.
Brian McTaggart is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.