HOUSTON -- J.R. Towles returned to the starting lineup and was catching Wandy Rodriguez on Thursday night for the first time since Rodriguez's last start on Friday.
Towles left that game in the third inning and received 11 stitches after taking a foul tip off his chin. The catcher said his mask has since been altered to provide more protection.
"I've got some padding on it, so it's a little farther from my face," he said. "Not much, but just a little to keep it off the cut."
Rodriguez allowed four runs in the third inning after Towles left the game and took his first loss since April. He pitched two scoreless innings before Towles left and allowed five runs in his next four frames.
"He's more familiar with J.R, Wandy is," said manager Brad Mills. "They've worked well together."
Carlos Corporan played the rest of that game in Towles' stead.
"He spreads out a little bit wider than I do, and he gets a little lower sometimes," Towles said. "He just does a couple different things that are a little different for the pitcher, and the pitcher's got to get used to that."
Towles has taken a beating behind the plate in the last few weeks, but the rest has him feeling better.
"Hopefully things turn around," Towles said. "Luck's got to turn. It can't be bad all the time."