7/8/2014 8:40 P.M. ET
Castro improving, available to pinch-hit
By Brian McTaggart / MLB.com
ARLINGTON -- Astros catcher Jason Castro, who missed Monday's game with a mysterious pain in his left armpit, was improved Tuesday and did some hitting in the batting cage. Castro said he felt well enough that he was available to pinch-hit.
The cause of the pain still isn't known, even after Castro visited doctors Monday. He has been taking some anti-inflammatory medicine and some antibiotics, which seem to be working.
"I saw a few doctors yesterday and without getting into some in-depth testing, they can only guess to what it is," he said. "Everything seems pretty minor what their guesses are. They way I came to the field and felt today, it's really not worth trying to pinpoint it, I guess, just stick with what we're doing right and the progress."
The injury comes at a bad time for Castro, who was hitting .462 (6-for-13) in his last three games after getting moved into the No. 2 spot in the batting order.
"Hopefully, it won't be too much longer now," he said. "I'm pretty happy about the progress from yesterday to today."
Grossman looking to keep hot bat going
ARLINGTON -- Astros manager Bo Porter joked Tuesday that outfielder Robbie Grossman should wear his Triple-A Oklahoma City uniform under his Astros uniform in an effort to try to keep the hot bat going that he had in the Minor Leagues.
Grossman was called up Tuesday when Alex Presley was placed on the disabled list for his third stint with the club this year and was starting in right field. He had been on a tear at Triple-A, hitting .474 (18-for-38) with a .565 on-base percentage in 10 games since being optioned on June 24.
For the season, he's hitting .337 with four homers, 15 RBIs and a .417 on-base percentage with Oklahoma City.
"I'm excited to be here and to help this team win some games," he said.
Grossman credited a 20-minute conversation he had with RedHawks hitting coach Leon Roberts in his office on the day he got sent down with helping him simplify things and get back to the basics.
"Keep it simple," Grossman said. "He played a long time and I think his track record speaks for itself. He just helped me like that and broke it down real simple and laid it out how I need to do."
Grossman, who started in left field on Opening Day for the Astros, is hitting .158 with a .273 on-base percentage for Houston this season.
Veras, umpire exchange words
ARLINGTON -- Veteran relief pitcher Jose Veras said he didn't appreciate the way umpire Bill Miller shouted at him to hurry to the mound when he came from the bullpen in the ninth inning Tuesday, which led to a postgame verbal altercation between the two.
To his credit, Miller called Astros manager Bo Porter after the game and apologized.
"He told me to hurry up," said Veras, who got the final three outs of a 3-hour, 48-minute game. "I just let him know the bullpen is far in the gap in left-center and you've got to come out in this [hot] weather. You can't sprint to the mound. You take your time because it's real humid and you need to breathe and be prepared to get your three outs."
After Veras recorded the last out, he and Miller exchanged words near the pitcher's mound for a few minutes. Veras didn't like being told to speed up his gait on the way to the mound, but he also didn't like the tone in which Miller relayed the message.
"There's another way to tell me to hurry up," he said. "At the same time, it was a long game. It was a long game for me, too. I was out there, too, and I wanted to go home, but I want to win. He told me to 'Hurry up, hurry up,' and I told him I needed my time. I need my time to come from the bullpen and get my three outs. If I sprint to the mound, I'm not going to have any energy. I know he's got a job to do, but I have a job to do."
Liberman selected as All-Star Teacher
ARLINGTON -- Carol Liberman, who's been a teacher for more than 40 years in the Houston area, has been chosen by fans to represent the Astros in the Target Presents PEOPLE All-Star Teachers" campaign, which celebrates remarkable current and retired teachers who make an impact on the lives of their students and communities.
Liberman is teaching her final year of middle school English and history. She earned a Master's in Education with Phi Beta Kappa honors and started her career working in the inner city, later moving between two Jewish private schools for the next 40 years. Her accomplishments can only be measured by the success of her students, many of whom have gone on to win national writing awards and attend Ivy League schools.
She's won multiple Teacher of the Year honors, was asked to participate in a national teachers' mentoring program, and deserves to be nominated for sainthood for teaching middle school for so long. Liberman hasn't had a storybook life and yet she never complains.
When her husband had a heart attack, she raised two young kids on a teacher's salary. She's been a great inspiration and for the small, tight Jewish community in Houston, and her retirement will be a changing of the guard. She is a diehard Astros fan with a picture of her son, daughter and Jose Cruz proudly displayed in her classroom.
Liberman will join one winner representing each of the 30 MLB Clubs to be included in All-Star Week activities and recognized during the pre-game ceremony of the 2014 MLB All-Star Game -- Tuesday with pre-game ceremonies beginning at 7:30 p.m. ET / 6:30 p.m. CT on FOX from Target Field in Minneapolis.
• Rookie first baseman Jon Singleton's locker was moved to the middle of the visiting clubhouse Tuesday with the message "Beat the 1st bus or be on it" written on a piece of tape that was stuck to the locker. The team has two charter busses that leave from the hotel to the ballpark daily.
"Whatever they do in the clubhouse, that's their clubhouse," manager Bo Porter said. "They police each other. It's good for the game. It's all part of the game."