ARLINGTON -- Astros right fielder Hunter Pence, who missed his third consecutive game Monday with a sprained left elbow, is expected to return to the lineup in Tuesday's game against the Rangers.
Pence, who suffered the injury Friday in Los Angeles, felt so encouraged Monday that he was able to take some swings in the batting cage. He was able to straighten out his elbow for the first time since injuring it trying to slide into first base.
"It feels good," Pence said. "From where I was, the inflammation was in there and we detected what the problem was. It's like a sprained ankle on the elbow. I know it's feeling pretty good and I'm pretty optimistic about getting back soon."
Pence entered Monday tied for fourth in the National League with 51 RBIs, tied for second with 93 hits and ranked fourth with a .321 batting average. Astros manager Brad Mills said he expects Pence to be in the lineup Tuesday.
"He wants to play, he wants to get in there, and the doctors and trainers feel that one more day will be extremely beneficial for him," Mills said Monday. "That's what we're going to do, is to get him one more day. Hopefully he can get in there tomorrow."