06/09/12 1:46 AM ET
Bixler returns to big leagues; Gonzalez on DL
By Rowan Kavner / MLB.com
"I'm excited to be back up," Bixler said before Friday night's Interleague series opener against the White Sox. "It's definitely good news when you're coming back to the big leagues. I'm going to take each day as it's worth, and whatever my role is that day, I'll come in and be ready. Whether it's starting or off the bench, or whatever position it is."
Bixler, who's played with Pittsburgh, Washington and Houston since being drafted in 2004 by the Pirates, has made the move from the Majors to Triple-A and back multiple times.
"The best thing going down and coming back up is getting more at-bats and staying comfortable, instead of not getting as many appearances," Bixler said. "I've done it for a few years, so I'm kind of used to it."
Bixler was hitting .302 in 45 games at Oklahoma City, adding six stolen bases and three home runs. He's played in six games for the Astros this season, most recently on April 28 against the Reds, and provides the Astros a player with experience across the infield and in the outfield.
"Any time that you get a guy like that who can run, he can play every position on the field, he just adds a lot to us because of that," said manager Brad Mills.
Gonzalez didn't break a bone in his heel, but Mills described the heel as tender, swollen and bruised badly.
"The doctors told us that he would definitely be out a minimum of 10 days," Mills said. "Hopefully, he's able to at least play catch to keep his arm stronger, but it's going to be tough to have him ready to play."
Johnson leaves game after getting sick
CHICAGO -- Houston third baseman Chris Johnson was forced to leave Friday's 8-3 win over the White Sox after six innings with an illness.
Manager Brad Mills said a few Astros players were under the weather before the game, and Johnson is the latest to catch the bug.
"He's pretty sick," Mills said. "That's why we had to take him out of the game. He was tossing his cookies, you might say."
Johnson was replaced by Brian Bixler in his first game up from Triple-A Oklahoma City. Johnson finished 0-for-3, though he provided a crucial bare-handed putout on a grounder by Orlando Hudson with two runners on in the fourth inning.
The Astros called up a utility infielder at the right time, though Bixler struck out in his only at-bat.
Lineup adjusted in American League ballpark
CHICAGO -- The Astros traveled to play the White Sox for the first time since 2007, when they took two of three from the South Siders.
Wandy Rodriguez, Friday night's starting hurler, took the loss in the only game the Astros dropped during that series.
"Basically, it's going to be a situation where we have to rely a lot on video and going back and seeing certain situations and just reading a lot about them," said manager Brad Mills. "We've got some pretty good reports that we've read through, although being a short turnaround, that's the big thing."
Mills said the designated hitter in an Interleague series changes the way the game is played. J.D. Martinez filled that role Friday, while Justin Maxwell was in left field. Mills hadn't decided who his designated hitter will be the rest of the series.
"I think Maxie gives us a little bit more coverage out in the outfield," Mills said. "J.D.'s probably got a little better arm, but especially in left field with Wandy on the mound, a left-hander, having a guy out there who can cover a little bit more ground, that was it."
Bogusevic in the lineup after pitching
CHICAGO -- One day after Brian Bogusevic pitched for the first time in his Major League career, the Astros outfielder was hitting in the nine-hole against the White Sox.
"I didn't even think about that," manager Brad Mills said of the lineup. "I'm probably going to get some grief on that from him. I thought it just balanced out everything to have him in there."
Bogusevic was drafted by the Astros as a pitcher in 2005 before converting to an outfielder. Mills said the right fielder's arm wasn't too sore after pitching one inning against the Cardinals in Thursday night's 14-2 St. Louis route.
"He was fine when he came in, and he'll probably go out and play catch and feel it a little bit, but I think he's OK," Mills said.Bogusevic drilled a three-run homer in the ninth to give the Astros their final 8-3 margin of victory on Friday.
The Astros signed eight more players from the 2012 First-Year Player Draft, including fifth-round selection Andrew Aplin and five other picks taken in the first 20 rounds.
Aplin, an outfielder, is the second Arizona State player to sign with the Astros, after pitcher Brady Rodgers signed on Wednesday. With the addition of Rodgers and first-round pick Carlos Correa, Houston has signed 10 of its 41 Draft picks.
Rowan Kavner is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.