Astros infielder Jeff Keppinger and outfielder Jason Bourgeois continue to recover from injury, with both players remaining on schedule to be activated from the 15-day disabled list at some point in the near future, as long as they don’t have any setbacks.
Keppinger, 31, went 2-for-5 for Triple-A Oklahoma City Monday night in the RedHawks’ 7-5 road loss against the Fresno Grizzlies.
He’s hitting .325 (13-for-40) with a homer, three RBI and a double in 10 combined games between Double-A Corpus Christi and Oklahoma City during his minor league rehab assignment.
The veteran infielder underwent foot surgery in January to remove the sesamoid bone in his left big toe, which has him on pace to make his 2011 debut for Houston before the end of May.
Astros general manager Ed Wade told MLB.com Tuesday night that he’s hopeful Keppinger could rejoin the team by Friday’s three-game weekend opener against the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Keppinger had a breakout 2010 campaign, hitting .288 with six homers, 59 RBI and a team-high 34 doubles over 137 games.
He officially took over the starting duties at second base for manager Brad Mills’ squad last May after the Astros released Kaz Matsu.
However, Keppinger was placed on the 15-day disabled list in August with left big toe sesamoiditis, and later spent six weeks in a walking boot.
Unfortunately, he found himself battling lingering pain and discomfort in his left big toe while working out this offseason, thus leading to surgery.
For Bourgeois, the 29-year-old Houston native swung a bat Monday for the first time since being placed on the disabled list on May 8 with a strained left oblique, taking 25-30 swings prior to the Astros’ three-game series opener against the Los Angeles Dodgers.
The speedy outfielder represented one of the top feel-good stories in Major League Baseball prior to getting injured, hitting .407 with seven RBI, three doubles, a triple and 12 stolen bases while posting a remarkable .439 on-base percentage.
Despite his role as a backup, Astros manager Brad Mills continued to find ways to keep the red-hot Bourgeois in the lineup, considering he was hitting .519 with five RBI, three doubles and seven stolen bases over seven consecutive starts.
Bourgeois will likely be out for the remainder of the May, but team sources indicate he could be ready to begin a rehab assignment in early June.
In addition to both Keppinger and Bourgeois, the Astros have three other players on the DL — reliever Alberto Arias (right shoulder), catcher Jason Castro (right knee surgery) and closer Brandon Lyon (right biceps tendinitis; partially torn rotator cuff).
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