Keppinger could return to Astros this week

Keppinger could return to Astros this week

TORONTO -- There's a chance the Astros could get infielder Jeff Keppinger back by the end of the week.

Keppinger, who is rehabbing his way back from Jan. 14 foot surgery, is scheduled to play Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday at Triple-A Oklahoma City before being reevaluated by the Astros, who are off Thursday.

"This is his Spring Training," Astros manager Brad Mills said. "We want to build up at-bats, build up strength. He's mentioned that [his foot] has been tired, so we have to build up strength. We just want to keep it to where it doesn't get worn out. That's the biggest thing."

Keppinger has played in nine games on his Minor League rehab -- four with Double-A Corpus Christi and five with Oklahoma City. He was hitting .314 (11-for-35) with a double, homer and three RBIs.

Keppinger has been playing second base when he hasn't been at designated hitter, and his return will create an intriguing roster decision for the Astros. Bill Hall's playing time has diminished in the last week, with Angel Sanchez getting more at-bats.