Notes: Self starts while Lamb sits

Notes: Self starts while Lamb sits

CHICAGO -- Todd Self made his third consecutive start on Monday when the Houston Astros opened a three-game series with the Chicago Cubs. Self played left field, and Lance Berkman started at first base for just the third time since returning from the disabled list on May 6.

Garner's preference would be for Mike Lamb to play first base, but considering Lamb is hitting .191 in May (13-for-68) and has four hits in his last 13 games, Garner has to look elsewhere for RBIs.

"I prefer for Lamb to swing the bat like I think he can, and I'll play Lamb at first base," Garner said. "Until we get him going here, I'll pick and choose sometimes."

The decision not to start Lamb had nothing to do with the fact that the Astros were facing Glendon Rusch, a left-hander, on Monday.

"Self's left-handed, too," Garner said. "I don't have problems playing Lamb against a left-hander, because he hits them good when he's swinging the bat right. He's just not swinging the bat right right now. I'm going to try playing everybody until we get some guys swinging the bat well. Once a guy starts swinging the bat a little bit, I'll try to settle into a more consistent lineup."

Thinking about the team's five-game losing streak and 2-19 road record, Garner chuckled and admitted at this point, any win would be fine with him, regardless how well it's executed.

"Heck, if we win a couple of games, those guys are going back out there there next day," he laughed. "We're looking for something, any combination."

Set the date: On Monday, Jeff Bagwell confirmed that he is scheduled for right shoulder surgery on June 2 in Spartanburg, S.C. His surgeon, Dr. Richard Hawkins, has been in Europe on vacation, which was delaying the scheduling. Astros medical director David Lintner will assist with the surgery.

The procedure, called arthroscopic capsular release, will cut away the tissue capsule surrounding Bagwell's right shoulder, which in theory should help him to gain more range of motion. According to Bagwell, he will be able to start rehabbing the shoulder right after the surgery, although it will be a while before he can start baseball-related activities.

The recovery period is estimated to be at least three months.

While surgery isn't usually something people look foward to, Bagwell will be glad when it's over so he knows for sure what's in store for him.

"I'll be anxious right after it's done, to find out what [Dr. Hawkins] feels and what's my future after that," he said.

Flu, take two: Just when you thought it was safe to go into the Astros' clubhouse ...

More than two weeks after eight players and three coaches recovered from everything from upper respiratory infections to pneumonia, right-hander Russ Springer caught a virus that appeared on the off-day between the San Francisco and Arizona series during the last homestand.

Springer took antibiotics for most of the week, and while he's feeling better, he's not quite back to normal.

"My equlibrium's off," he said. "You move fast and it takes a second for your eyes to focus. I talked to the doctor and he said anywhere to three or four days, to seven or nine days [for recovery]. Everybody's different. Hopefully, I'm over the worst part. But I've lost eight pounds in the last five days. It's the Adam Everett diet."

My kind of town: Like most baseball people, Garner's favorite city to visit during the season is Chicago. While most of the cities in the National League Central aren't considered the most exciting places to visit, the Astros have always felt fortunate to play two to three times a year in the Windy City.

"They're doing a great job keeping it clean downtown, there's flowers all over, good shops, good restaurants," Garner said. "It's a friendly atmosphere, you feel safe. It's fun to play in the ballpark. It's all good."

Coming up: The Astros and Cubs will meet again at Wrigley Field for another night game on Tuesday at 7:05 p.m. CT. Right-hander Roger Clemens (3-2, 1.29 ERA) will face Cubs right-hander Sergio Mitre, who will be making his 2005 debut.

Alyson Footer is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.