Towles making progress with back

Towles making progress with back

CLEARWATER, Fla. -- With the 25-man roster needing to be set by Thursday night, the Astros are going to be closely monitoring the ailing back of catcher J.R. Towles.

Towles has missed a couple of games because of tightness in his back, but he took 25 swings off the tee on Monday in Kissimmee, Fla., and said he felt OK, according to manager Brad Mills. If he's healthy, Towles is likely to join Humberto Quintero on the Opening Day roster.

"It was good to see him do some baseball activity," Mills said. "He played catch and threw. He still felt it in his back, but he felt much better. To have him go out there and do some baseball activity is huge."

Mills said it's too early to tell how Towles' back injury would affect the roster.

"We'll see how he is [Tuesday] for the flight to Oklahoma City, and we'll go from there," he said.