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Astros beat 8/6

August 6, 2010

Mills feels for injured righty Moehler

MILWAUKEE — After hearing the news that Brian Moehler had torn the tendon off the bone in his left groin area, Astros manager Brad Mills’ first thought had nothing to do with the impact it might have on his team.

Instead, he was more concerned with the effect on Moehler.

“The first thing you think of when you hear something like that is you kind of feel bad for him, it really hurts for him,” Mills said. “You kind of hurt for him a little bit.”

Moehler has been on the disabled list since July 8 with a right groin strain. He is 1-4 with a 4.92 ERA in 20 games, including eight starts for the Astros.

Despite the injury, Moehler told MLB.com on Thursday that he was not in any pain and even threw a baseball off flat ground without pain. He also said that he plans to work out Friday at Minute Maid Park and rejoin the team on Monday in Houston.

“You’d like to get a chance for him to help out this club because he’s helped us out so much during this year, so you’d like him to be able to continue it,” Mills said. “You think of what he has done for us as a spot starter, as a long man, a middle guy — he is valuable because he can do so many things.”

But while Mills said he and the club would miss Moehler, the Astros manager was not ready to rule out a return for the 38-year-old right-hander just yet.

“We’re going to wait and see when more tests are done,” Mills said. “It’s really too early to speculate on whether he’ll be back this year or whatever.”

Blum makes first start since stint on DL

MILWAUKEE — Making his first start since returning from the disabled list on Tuesday, veteran infielder Geoff Blum was at shortstop on Friday as the Astros opened a three-game series with the Brewers.

As manager Brad Mills noted earlier this week, he expects Blum to share time at shortstop with rookie Angel Sanchez.

“He played there on his rehab assignment and he played there a few games before he was hurt,” Mills said. “We want to get him in there against some of the right-handed pitching. I don’t know if it’s going to be all of them. I don’t know how many games he’s going to be able to sustain playing out there in a row or in a week.”

Blum started 10 games this season at shortstop before he underwent surgery to remove loose bodies from his right elbow in early July.

He began seeing more time at the position following an injury to rookie shortstop Tommy Manzella, but since Blum also went on the DL, the starting shortstop duties fell to Sanchez, who was acquired from the Boston Red Sox on July 1.

Sanchez has performed well in his time with Houston, batting .301 with 14 RBIs in 25 games since the trade.

“With Angel doing so well, it’s not just an absolute must that we need [Blum] to get out there four or five times a week,” Mills said. “Depending on the matchups, depending on the team that we’re playing, depending on the pitchers — a lot of those things are going to enter into it.

“I can’t see [Blum] playing over there more than two or three times a week.”

Prospect Lyles promoted to Triple-A

MILWAUKEE — Like many Astros fans, manager Brad Mills is looking forward to seeing right-handed pitching prospect Jordan Lyles in action. He may not have to wait much longer.

Lyles was promoted Thursday night from Double-A Corpus Christi to Triple-A Round Rock. His Triple-A debut is set for Aug. 10 as the Express host the Sacramento River Cats at the Dell Diamond.

“I haven’t really seen him,” Mills said. “All the reports have been good, though. So I’m kind of anxious to see him.”

Selected 38th overall in the 2008 First-Year Player Draft, the 19-year-old Lyles owns a 3.12 ERA in 21 games (20 starts) this season for the Hooks. With the move up to Triple-A, the young right-hander could realistically make his Major League debut by the end of 2010.

If that does indeed happen, Lyles would be the first teenage pitcher to debut in the National League since Doc Gooden in 1984.

“That’s not out of the question,” Mills said. “You see guys who make those steps all the time. They get a couple starts in Triple-A then move up to the next level.

“If he’s as good as advertised, I wouldn’t be surprised to see him move up.”

Manzella plays in first rehab game

MILWAUKEE — Rookie shortstop Tommy Manzella began his rehab assignment on Thursday night, going 1-for-2 with a single up the middle and a caught stealing at Double-A Corpus Christi.

Manzella played five innings and is scheduled to play five games with the Hooks before continuing his rehab assignment at Triple-A Round Rock.

Astros manager Brad Mills was happy for Manzella to be back in action.

“It was good to get him started on the rehab assignment,” Mills said. “I’m sure he was itching to get going. He took one day of BP and wanted to get out on a rehab assignment.”

Jordan Schelling is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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