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04/03/11 2:25 PM ET

Barmes to wear protective pad on hand

PHILADELPHIA -- Clint Barmes is taking a page from Jeff Bagwell's book and will begin wearing a protective pad on his batting glove when he returns to action. Barmes fractured a bone in his left hand when he was hit by a pitch in a Spring Training game March 25 and will miss about a month of the regular season.

After breaking his hand three seasons in a row when he was hit by a pitch, Bagwell began wearing a pad atop his batting glove in 1995 and kept it for the rest of his career. Barmes has the pad ready to go, but hasn't been able to put on any batting gloves just yet.

"It's just a Velcro patch that goes over the top of my batting glove and the pad goes on there," Barmes said. "It's exactly what [Bagwell] had. It's something I guess I might want to get used to. It's kind of a freak deal, but this is the second time it's happened."

Barmes wore a similar pad after breaking his hand in Double-A in 2002, but he didn't keep it very long. He plans to make it a permanent part of his gear this time.

"I think it will be good for me mentally not to worry about it," he said. "Not that I did in the past, but up until now, I never really worried about it. Breaking it two times will definitely make you think. In the back of your mind, you think about getting hit there again, and having that pad will be a big difference."

Wallace moved up to sixth in batting order

PHILADELPHIA -- After hitting seventh in the order for the first two games of the season, Astros first baseman Brett Wallace was moved up a spot and into the No. 6 hole for Sunday's series finale against the Phillies. Chris Johnson, who had batted sixth, was moved down to seventh.

Astros manager Brad Mills has already said he plans to have some flexibility in the lineup in the fifth, sixth and seventh spots this season.

"I just thought I'd put him between [Bill] Hall and C.J.," Mills said. "Hall's had some success against Roy [Oswalt] in the past [14-for-44 entering Sunday], although it might have been a long time ago. I'm not exactly sure. I'm pretty confident that Brett will swing the bat well."

The Astros used 128 different lineups in 162 games last year, a number buoyed by the roster upheaval in the middle of the season. But the Astros went several weeks into the season last year before they had the same top eight spots in the batting order for two games in a row.

"There's a few spots that seem pretty solid and some might have to change here and there," Mills said. "I talked to those three guys [Hall, Wallace and Johnson] and told them, 'Don't panic.' Those three guys, we might be changing a little bit until we get settled. Let the dust settle to see where we're at. This is one of those 'tinkerings.'"

Fulchino has rooting interest in Final Four

PHILADELPHIA -- With his alma mater, the University of Connecticut, playing for the NCAA men's basketball championship on Monday night in Houston, Astros pitcher Jeff Fulchino will make sure to be glued to a television set to watch the game against Butler.

"I remember in '99 when I was there and they won it the first time, it was crazy," Fulchino said. "They opened up Gampel [Pavilion] and all the students were on the court and watching on the big screen. It was pretty insane when they won it. It was a lot of fun."

Of course, with the game being in Houston and the Astros having a day off before opening a series in Cincinnati on Tuesday, Fulchino wished he could have attended the game.

"I would love to go and it stinks that it is in Houston and I'm not there," Fulchino said. "Why couldn't we open at home?"

Fulchino pitched for the Huskies from 1999-2001 before being drafted by the Marlins in the 2001 First-Year Player Draft. He met his wife, Kerry, at UConn, where she played lacrosse in '99.

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