Norris ready to return

Norris ready to return

HOUSTON -- Right-hander Bud Norris, on the disabled list since May 24 with bursitis and biceps tendinitis, could be activated soon. Norris threw in the bullpen prior to Saturday's game and could be slotted back into the rotation in place of Brian Moehler the next time through the rotation.

"They have the off-day [Monday], so they don't have to make any moves, so whenever I'm out there I'll be ready to go," said Norris, who threw 50-60 pitches in the bullpen Saturday. "I'm happy the way I felt, so that's a plus."

Norris (2-5, 6.80 ERA) allowed eight hits, five runs and three walks in 4 2/3 innings in his second rehab outing on Thursday for Triple-A Round Rock, throwing 86 pitches (49 strikes). He threw four scoreless innings in his first rehab start last Saturday in New Orleans.

"Bud broke [Spring Training camp] as one of our starters, and since he's been starting, we're trying to build those innings up and get some confidence in him and how he's throwing the ball and so forth," manager Brad Mills said.

Meanwhile, right-handed reliever Chris Sampson will have a third rehab appearance on Sunday for Triple-A Round Rock. Sampson, on the DL since June 1 with rotator cuff tendinitis, struck out two batters in one scoreless inning (20 pitches) in Friday's rehab outing.

"All reports were good and much better than they were for the first outing," Mills said.