7/24/2014 3:30 A.M. ET
Astros weighing McHugh, Oberholtzer for rotation
By Brian McTaggart / MLB.com
OAKLAND -- The Astros have a tough decision to make in the next few days when it comes to their pitching rotation.
With right-hander Collin McHugh coming through his Minor League rehab start on Tuesday at Triple-A Oklahoma City with no problems and left-hander Brett Oberholtzer throwing seven strong innings in McHugh's place Tuesday in Oakland, one of them will get to start again for Houston on Sunday.
The Astros announced their rotation for the first two games of this weekend's series against Miami, but Sunday remains TBA.
Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow spoke with Triple-A manager Tony DeFrancesco late Tuesday about McHugh, who threw 80 pitches in five innings. He was placed on the DL this month when the fingernail on the middle finger of his right hand pulled away from the skin.
"He threw the ball very well," Luhnow said. "The pitches were sharp and he felt good. He's ready to be plugged back in and we just need to figure out what we're going to do. We're in this advantageous position of having six healthy, valuable starters who are all pitching well. It's a good spot to be in."
After going 0-6 with a 5.68 ERA in seven starts before being sent down, Oberholtzer has gone 2-1 with a 3.00 ERA in the six starts in which he's bounced between Houston and the Minor Leagues while filling in as a spot starter.
"The way he competes and his attitude throughout this whole thing has been extraordinary," Luhnow said. "He deserves to be pitching in the big leagues, all of them do, and that's a process [manager] Bo [Porter] and I are going to have to sort out somehow."
Springer placed on DL to rest left quad strain
OAKLAND -- It's not in George Springer's DNA to take it easy running out of the box or to not go full tilt when he's tracking down fly balls in the outfield. In some ways, it's Springer's all-out style of play that helped him land on the disabled list Wednesday.
The Astros placed Springer on the 15-day disabled list with a left quad strain and recalled infielder/outfielder Marc Krauss from Triple-A Oklahoma City. The injury, which is different from the right knee discomfort Springer has been dealing with recently, has been lingering for about two weeks, he said.
"I want to be out there with my team and help and fight and play every day," Springer said. "This is obviously going to be hard on me."
Astros manager Bo Porter said prior to Tuesday's game Springer wasn't to the point where he needed to go on the disabled list, but Krauss was informed late Tuesday he was headed to Houston, so things changed throughout the course of the night.
Porter had given Springer permission to not run hard out of the box to protect the injury, but Springer isn't wired that way. Porter said Springer's quadriceps had been sore before he crashed into the wall in Arlington two weeks ago making a great catch, banging up his right knee in the process.
"He banged up his knee pretty good and the quad was already bothering him," Porter said. "Now you're trying to compensate for one or another, and it started to take a toll on his lower body."
Springer said the quad doesn't affect him when he hits, but the Astros aren't going to allow him injure it worse by running down the line at full blast.
"He's been day to day, and we could have continued to keep him day to day because obviously taking him out of the equation for two weeks is a blow to the team, but the way Springer plays the game is 100 percent," general manager Jeff Luhnow said. "Even if you use him as a pinch-hitter or a DH and he's in the game and he hits a ground ball, he's going to run 100 percent.
"In order to protect him from himself for a certain extent, we kind of need to force him to get some rest so that we don't risk him injuring himself in a way that seriously affects his time available to us the rest of the season. At this point, we don't expect him to be out longer than the 15 days."
Springer is hitting .231 with 20 homers and 51 RBIs through 78 games in his rookie season, putting him one homer shy of Lance Berkman's club rookie record. Now he's going to be a spectator for two weeks.
"It's been tough in general," he said. "I want to go out there and play at 100 percent and be able to help and be who I am, and when it's not that case, it's tough. For me, it's been hard just because I know I'm not 100 percent. That's how I play."
The Astros were already short-handed in the outfield with Dexter Fowler and Alex Presley both on the DL, which means Robbie Grossman and L.J. Hoes will get more playing time at the corner-outfielder spots. Super utility man Enrique Hernandez has been forced into action in center field.
Fowler has been on the DL since June 27 with a right intercostal strain, and Presley has been out since July 8 with a right oblique strain.
"It's a blow," Luhnow said. "It's really three guys that we've lost recently in the outfield, all of whom can [contribute] offensively and defensively. It's a big blow. I think this is the time that Grossman and Hoes and the rest of the guys have to step up. This is their opportunity. They're going to be playing every day, and they need to show us they're capable of producing and helping this team win ballgames.
"The team is in much better spot today than it was a year ago, than it was at the beginning of the year. A large part of that is the contribution of Fowler and Springer, and we need these guys to step up and fill that void."
Krauss can play right field and left field as well as first base. He hit .173 with four homers and 14 RBIs in 39 games with the Astros earlier this year and was hitting .289 with five homers and 38 RBIs in 42 games at Oklahoma City, including .308 in his past 10 games.
Krauss recalled, expected to start vs. right-handers
OAKLAND -- With rookie outfielder George Springer headed to the disabled list, infielder/outfielder Marc Krauss rejoined the club Wednesday from Triple-A Oklahoma City and was plugged right into the lineup, hitting fourth while starting in left field.
It's the third stint with the Astros this year for Krauss, who broke camp with the club but was sent down because he was struggling at the plate.
"I'm definitely excited," he said. "This is why you put in all the hard work, to get to this level. I think it was beneficial for me to go down to Oklahoma City and work on some things and play every day and do all that stuff to get my confidence and rhythm back. I feel good. I wish George wasn't hurt. A lot of people are in that boat, but it's part of the game, and so I'm going to try to step in and do what I can to help the team win."
Krauss figures to get most of his playing time in left field, starting against right-handers while L.J. Hoes will start against lefties. Krauss can also play right field, first base and serve as the designated hitter. He hit .173 with four homers and 14 RBIs in 39 games with the Astros earlier this year and was hitting .289 with five homers and 38 RBIs in 42 games at Oklahoma City.
"I became more aggressive at the plate," he said. "I was just trying to get my pitch and not miss it. For a while there I was doing pretty well. I was trying to continue to work on that and I'm going to try to use that same approach when I'm up here, and hopefully I can help the team any way I can."
While he gained confidence with consistent playing time, Krauss also worked on his mechanics, getting his front foot down early to be ready for the fastball.
"I'm trying to focus on staying back more and putting more of an effort into that," he said. "It's more of that approach and stuff and trying to be aggressive from the first pitch."
• Astros shortstop Marwin Gonzalez was pulled from Wednesday's game in the seventh inning to rest a sore right hamstring he suffered running the bases Saturday in Chicago. Gonzalez said he's not 100 percent but will play in Thursday's series finale.