05/22/11 6:09 PM ET
Keppinger could return to Astros this week
By Brian McTaggart / MLB.com
Keppinger, who is rehabbing his way back from Jan. 14 foot surgery, is scheduled to play Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday at Triple-A Oklahoma City before being reevaluated by the Astros, who are off Thursday.
"This is his Spring Training," Astros manager Brad Mills said. "We want to build up at-bats, build up strength. He's mentioned that [his foot] has been tired, so we have to build up strength. We just want to keep it to where it doesn't get worn out. That's the biggest thing."
Keppinger has played in nine games on his Minor League rehab -- four with Double-A Corpus Christi and five with Oklahoma City. He was hitting .314 (11-for-35) with a double, homer and three RBIs.
Keppinger has been playing second base when he hasn't been at designated hitter, and his return will create an intriguing roster decision for the Astros. Bill Hall's playing time has diminished in the last week, with Angel Sanchez getting more at-bats.
Injured Bourgeois plans to swing bat on Monday
TORONTO -- Outfielder Jason Bourgeois, who's been on the disabled list since May 8 with a strained left oblique, said on Sunday that he hopes to begin swinging a bat when the team returns home Monday to play the Dodgers at Minute Maid Park.
Bourgeois is eligible to come off the disabled list, but he's probably at least a week away from returning, considering he will likely have to go out on a Minor League rehab assignment. That could happen later this week.
"I feel great," Bourgeois said. "I'm just kind of ready for this to be over with, but I think I'll be able to go on a rehab assignment soon -- maybe Thursday or Friday. That's not official at all, but it's looking good for me to go out on that off-day [Thursday]."
Bourgeois was off to a terrific start at the plate when he went down with an injury. In 28 games, he was hitting. 407 (22-for-54), was tied for the league lead with 12 stolen bases -- a career high -- was starting to get more playing time in the outfield, and even saw time at second base.
Pence delivers big game amidst heckling
TORONTO -- The Astros' first trip to Canada in seven years -- and first to Toronto in franchise history -- was certainly a memorable one for right fielder Hunter Pence.
In addition to going 6-for-14 with three multihit games in the series, Pence was the subject of relentless heckling from the fans in right field, which is becoming a growing trend in Toronto. Pence took it all in stride.
"I've never had that before," he said. "I just thought that's how Canada may be, I guess. They like to heckle."
The fans were at one point chanting his name over and over, doing the same for left fielder Brian Bogusevic on Sunday and center fielder Michael Bourn earlier in the series. Pence said it's all in good fun.
"That's part of sports, part of baseball," he said. "When you're on the road, it's not supposed to be easy. You've got to take it for what it is. They want to see you fail, and they enjoy it, and I want to prove them wrong. It made it more fun, more intense."
Pence has suffered some heckling before at Wrigley Field, but the Toronto fans had it together.
"These guys had a knack for being loud alone or all chanting together," he said. "It's pretty impressive."
Center fielder Michael Bourn, who injured his left ankle stepping awkwardly on third base in the first inning Saturday, called head athletic trainer Nate Lucero on Sunday morning and told him he was able to play. Bourn walked and stole a base in the first inning on Sunday.
Brian McTaggart is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.