Mills encouraging El Caballo's patience

Mills encouraging El Caballo's patience

HOUSTON -- Carlos Lee has been drawing more walks since the trades that sent Hunter Pence to the Phillies and Michael Bourn to Braves last month, something the Astros are encouraging the slugger to embrace. Lee has 11 walks in 14 August games after drawing six free passes in 26 games in July.

Astros manager Brad Mills said he had a long talk with Lee on Tuesday about being open to drawing the walks if opposing pitchers are willing to pitch around him.

"That's part of what we talked about, to go ahead and take your walks," Mills said. "I said, 'Go ahead and take your walks and keep the inning going and keep the inning alive.' So many times we use the phrase, 'Keep the line moving.' The more guys you get on base, it gives the guys behind you an opportunity and turns the lineup over quicker."

Mills had Lee out of the starting lineup on Wednesday for only the second time since July 10. He's hitting just .152 in August, after batting .300 with eight homers and 45 RBIs in May, June and July.

"I want to get him going," Mills said. "He needs to get going. The last month, he's still got 19 RBIs in the last 28-30 days, which isn't terribly bad, but at the same time, he's still not that type of hitter he can be."