From JJO at the Chronicle:
On Backe: "Righthander Brandon Backe, who is on the disabled list with a strained left intercostals, threw off the mound Wednesday for the first time since early March.
“No strains, tweaks, pulls, nothing like that,” he said after the 40-pitch session. “I just felt good, normal. I didn’t test it too hard. I just wanted to throw off the mound and see how I went. I threw a couple pretty hard just to test it out to see.”
Barring a setback, Backe expects to throw a 50-pitch bullpen session Friday, but it’s way too early to set a timetable for his return.
“He might be a little sore tomorrow so we’ve got to wait and see how he feels,” Cecil Cooper said. “I was encouraged by it.”
What are we going to do with Backe when he gets healthy? Send him to Round Rock? Trade Him? Move him into the rotation? If so who is out? Moehler? Guess time will tell.
Coop on Kepp and Pudge: "Catcher Ivan Rodriguez, who had a team-high five strikeouts before he collected his first hit of the season in his final at-bat Tuesday night, was moved from the second spot in the order to seventh Wednesday.
Jeff Keppinger hit second a day after delivering a walk-off single in his first at-bat as an Astro.
“I didn’t want to do it with Pudge having maybe two nights where he didn’t get any base hits and he was struggling,” manager Cecil Cooper said of his lineup change. “I think the first couple of nights, or at least the first six or seven at-bats, he was pretty revved up trying to show the fans some things, and I think he got out of himself a little bit.
“I was very happy to see him have two really good at-bats yesterday late in the game. I talked to him (Tuesday) night after the game about moving Keppinger into the No. 2 hole simply because Keppinger, in my estimation, is a real two-hole hitter. ”
Coop was right. Kepp went 2-4 in the 2 hole tonight with a homer and Pudge definitely blossomed in the 7 hole with a 2 run smash and a double. I think we put Pence in the 2 hole when we face a righty and keep Pudge in the 7 slot.