Tuesday roundup: injury updates, Barmes schedule and images from Dog Day at the ballpark.

We begin today with three injury updates:

Alberto Arias, pitching in Extended Spring, had what they’re categorizing as a setback — meaning, the soreness in his shoulder isn’t going away, so they’re sending him back to Houston to be looked at by team physician David Lintner. Arias will fly to Houston Wednesday for a Thursday appointment.

Jeff Keppinger, who has also been in Extended since Spring Training ended, will appear in a game on Friday as the designated hitter. Keppinger, who missed chunks of last season with a toe issue, had left foot surgery during the offseason.

Clint Barmes, who fractured his left hand toward the end of Spring Training, is the closest of the three to returning to the field. The shortstop hit soft tosses on Tuesday with no pain, and he could leave on a rehab assignment while the Astros are in Milwaukee this weekend.

Friday will be the four-week mark since Barmes broke his hand during a spring game against the Yankees. That day appears to be decision day: If the fracture looks like it’s completely healed by then, they’ll move toward working out a rehab schedule.

Barmes will likely need a minimum of 10 to 12 Minor League at-bats, and possibly more, depending on how he responds.

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The Astros will have decisions to make, obviously, when it’s time for Barmes and Keppinger to come off the DL. Barmes’ role on the team, to me, is much more defined than Keppinger’s, even though neither has appeared in a regular season game yet this year.

The Astros traded for Barmes with the mindset that he will be their everyday shortstop, and I believe that’s exactly how he’ll be slotted in when he’s ready to join the team. Angel Sanchez has played well in Barmes’ absence and his offense has  been a bright spot through the team’s disappointing start. But Barmes is the stronger defender of the two, has better range and is faster. Those qualities probably give him an edge.

Plus, it’s highly unusual for a player to lose his starting job because of an injury and I do not foresee Barmes being the exception to that rule.

As for Keppinger, his role, and his return date, are still to be determined. Keep in mind that the Astros signed Bill Hall before Keppinger’s injury, not because of it. The Astros were looking for more offensive production up the middle after receiving virtually no power from Tommy Manzella and Keppinger last year. They replaced them with Barmes and Hall. Should Hall continue to struggle offensively, that might mean more playing time for Keppinger. These are
questions that are impossible to answer now, considering Keppinger is still a ways away from returning and Hall could go on a tear at any point. Stay tuned.

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From the photo archives: Dog Day at Minute Maid Park always creates a delightful spectacle, and last Sunday was no exception. The pregame Pooch Parade drew more than 600 dogs and their owners, and truly, you have to experience one of these to really understand how hilarious it is. Not just because of the volume of dogs that are on the field at once, but also because of the funny outfits their owners dress them in for the occasion.

Astros fans weren’t the only participants this time — a few players joined in, too. Mark Melancon, Chris Johnson and Brett Wallace had their dogs to the park for the celebration as well:

Chris Johnson and his dog Harley, and Mark Melancon and his dog, Louie

...and Brett Wallace and his dog, Dexter.

Dazed and confused: CJ and Wallace looking at the scoreboard shot of the parade, trying to spot their dogs. (Wallace's girlfriend brought the dogs to the parade)

7 Comments

Bill Hall is the ONLY guy on this team not pulling his weight.
He is a liability in an every day line up. Sorry Alyson, but
I’ve seen ENOUGH of this guy. PERIOD. Maybe when Barmes
comes back Mills could put Sanchez at 2nd. I realize Ed Wade gave Hall $3.25 million……but this guy looks like he’s
not even interested in playing for this team.

I understand that Barmes was hired for the SS position, but I truly think that Sanchez has EARNED the position. He was there when Manzella wasn’t – and did a much better job – and is there now while Barmes is on the DL. Haven’t yet seen what Barmes brings to the team, but I see the work Sanchez puts out & I’m very impressed. His bat is hot & he’s on his toes on the field more than almost any of the other guys. He’s doing a great job now, but think about the potential this kid has! It would be a shame to let him “ride pine” after what he’s given thus far. And to think that he’s doing all of this for a mere fraction of what the “heavy hitters” and “strong defense” is making.
I may be standing high on my soapbox, but Sanchez deserves all the recognition he can get. He’s good. Don’t lose him. Period.

I disagree Becky. He looks like he gets pretty frustrated when he does not hit. Also, I like the way he goes to the pitchers when they are struggling or in a certain situation. Am I happy with his overall performance? Nope, but I don’t think it is because of apathy.

Alyson…..does Ed Wade have an email address, and if so
could you send it to me? Thanks! Becky :) :) :)

I could see a Barmes to Kepp double play combo.

I agree with you Becky. If Bill Hall would concentrate more on the game and less on chewing on the thing he has in his mouth he may be a different type player.

I’m with Becky. It’s foolish to take your most consistent player out of the lineup with Barmes coming back. Send Hall a message and play Sanchez at second. Hall is a professional who plays great defensive ball. Maybe he is better suited in a late inning defensive substitution role for a while.

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