09/09/12 2:15 PM ET
DeFrancesco moves Astros to six-man rotation
By Mark Clements / MLB.com
Manager Tony DeFrancesco said it gives more opportunities to players to prove their worth as the 2012 campaign draws to a close. It also gives the arms sufficient rest, preventing overwork.
"We're going to the six-man rotation to give everybody an extra day," DeFrancesco said.
DeFrancesco credited both Lucas Harrell, Friday night's starter, and Bud Norris, Saturday's starter, for their efforts in the series against Cincinnati. The interim manager said both pitchers "gave the team a chance to win," which Harrell said is the goal of the rotation moving forward.
"We're young and hungry," said Harrell. "We don't die, we don't quit, and this last month of the season, we really want to show people what we can do and improve every day."
The additional arm being added to the rotation also marks a second coming, of sorts, for Edgar Gonzalez, who, until last Monday, hadn't started a Major League game since 2009.
He earned a win in his first outing back, holding the Pirates to one run on five hits in 5 1/3 innings of work. DeFrancesco said there could be more to come.
"[Gonzalez] came a long way to get back to the Major Leagues," DeFrancesco said. "Last time he pitched, it was what we were looking for -- and hopefully he can repeat it. If he gets the breaking ball over and can work the ball in and out, he's going to have success [in the Majors]."
Astros hoping to get Lowrie back soon
CINCINNATI -- The Astros are hoping they'll get to strengthen their depleted middle infield, as shortstop Jed Lowrie continues to progress on his rehab stint.
Lowrie, who has started 76 games at shortstop this season, has been out of the Astros' lineup since July 15 with a nerve injury in his right leg. He completed his first rehab appearance on Friday, going 0-for-4 as the designated hitter for Double-A Corpus Christi. He was sent to Class A Advanced Lancaster on Saturday upon Corpus Christi's elimination from the playoffs.
The 28-year-old switch-hitter came on to pinch-hit in the top of the third inning on Saturday, and remained in for the rest of the 12-inning game as the DH.
Lowrie again went 0-for-4 at the plate, but drove in two runs and scored another.
"I know Jed flew to Lancaster [on Saturday] and got a couple at-bats and a couple RBIs, so that's encouraging," said Astros manager Tony DeFrancesco. "They won the game, so hopefully he'll be in the field [on Sunday] for four or five innings."
DeFrancesco said the plan was originally to have Lowrie play the field on Saturday. It would be his first field action since his injury.
No change in status of ailing Astros
CINCINNATI -- All of the Astros who are dealing with various injuries and illness reported no change on Sunday.
The Astros had no changes to report on Jose Altuve, who left Friday's game with a lower left abdominal strain; Scott Moore, who has been out since Thursday with a strained left groin; or Brandon Laird, who has been sick with flu-like symptoms.
"[They feel the] same today. Another day off, limited action," Astros manager Tony DeFrancesco said of the injuries, adding that Altuve and Moore received treatment at the ballpark on Sunday morning.
Laird, however, was not in the clubhouse, hoping to avoid spreading his illness to the rest of the team.
"Right now, he's in quarantine," DeFrancesco said. "The hotel, hopefully, has got him locked up over there. Hopefully, he'll be better in the next couple days."
With the club returning to Houston on Monday for a seven-game homestand, starting pitchers Norris and Harrell will get starts at Minute Maid Park. The two starters rank Nos. 1 and 2 in the National League in home ERA this season at 1.90 and 2.06, respectively.
Mark Clements is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.