04/27/12 7:44 PM ET
Mills happy to carry extra left-hander
By Jeff Wallner / Special to MLB.com
"It gives you so many options," Mills said. "It keeps you away from burning one left-hander out. It's a good thing."
Left-hander Fernando Abad was recalled from Triple-A when Kyle Weiland was placed on the DL retroactive to April 25.
Abad made the Opening Day roster, but was optioned to Oklahoma City on April 9 after two relief appearances. He tossed 7 1/3 scoreless innings at Oklahoma City, striking out 12 and walking two.
Having Abad along with Wesley Wright in the 'pen gives Mills some added flexibility this weekend against the Reds, and left-handed batters Joey Votto and Jay Bruce.
Bixler looks to make most of time with Astros
CINCINNATI -- Astros infielder Brian Bixler's most recent stint with the Astros could be brief. But the 29-year old plans to make the most of it.
"It has the potential to be a short stint," Bixler said. "I'll take it for whatever it is, and do the best I can while I'm here."
Bixler was recalled from Triple-A Oklahoma City on Friday when Marwin Gonzalez was placed on the paternity list, which per Major League policy is a maximum of three days.
Astros manager Brad Mills likes that Bixler can play a multitude of positions, and how he dealt with being sent to Triple-A after making the team out of Spring Training.
"He can do it all," Mills said. "It's nice to see him get rewarded, for going down there with a great attitude. He's a great kid."
In 12 games at Oklahoma City, Bixler hit .423 with two home runs and four RBIs. He had three doubles, a triple, and a .483 on-base percentage.
"No matter how you look at it, it's worth it to be back here," Bixler said. "If only for a couple days. All you can control is how you prepare and getting ready to play".
Castro returns to lineup after collision
CINCINNATI -- Astros catcher Jason Castro was back in the lineup Friday after missing two games with a sore neck resulting from a violent collision at the plate with the Brewers' Mat Gamel on Monday night. It was a scary moment for Castro, who missed the 2011 season after undergoing right knee surgery.
Castro said he won't change his approach to blocking the plate, which errs on the side of caution.
"I show that they have a little bit of the plate. I give them something and then try to take it away and apply the tag at the last second," Castro said. "[Gamel] had already made up his mind that's what he was going to do. Luckily I had time to brace myself."
Castro said he treated his neck and head with over-the-counter medication and ice. He took batting practice on Friday and gave Astros manager Brad Mills a positive report afterwards.
"I spoke with him in the outfield and he said he felt great, no issues at all," Mills said. "He's 100-percent ready to go. It's really nice to see."
Castro is batting .244 in 12 games, but he's 7-for-16 (.438) with three RBIs in his last four contests.
Mills selects Lyles to replace Weiland
CINCINNATI -- Astros manager Brad Mills has revealed the plan for the starting rotation in the wake of right-hander Kyle Weiland being placed on the disabled list on Friday.
Right-hander Jordan Lyles will be called up to start Sunday's series finale against the Reds. Bud Norris will start Monday's series opener in New York, followed by J.A. Happ on Tuesday in what would have been Weiland's spot. Wandy Rodriguez, Friday night's winning pitcher, will start on Wednesday.
A corresponding roster move will be made Sunday to make room for Lyles. Happ and Norris are each pushed back a day.
"Everything's fine with those guys ... we just give them an extra day," Mills said. "We thought this would be best."
Lyles is 4-0 with a 3.46 ERA in four starts. He has struck out 24 batters in 26 innings and walked only four. He made 20 appearances, including 15 starts for Houston last year, going 2-8 with a 5.26 ERA.
Lyles is expected to join the club in Cincinnati on Saturday.
Weiland was placed on the 15-day disabled list for a sore right shoulder retroactive to April 25, general manager Jeff Luhnow announced early Friday.
"Everything was structurally sound with his shoulder. That's always a good thing," Mills said of Weiland. "We think he's probably going to need the full two weeks."
• This weekend's three games at Great American Ball Park are the first of 15 games between the Astros and Reds. Houston was 6-9 against the Reds last season. The Astros have lost 28 of their past 40 games against Cincinnati, and 11 of the past 13 series.
Jeff Wallner is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.