Matsui ready for rehab assignment

Matsui ready for rehab assignment

SAN DIEGO -- Kazuo Matsui could begin a Minor League rehab assignment as early as next week, during the Astros' first homestand.

Matsui took early batting practice again at PETCO Park on Wednesday, and he hit later during the Astros' regular batting practice session. Manager Cecil Cooper was encouraged by the second baseman's progress and is optimistic that Matsui is still on schedule to rejoin the team the week of April 15.

"He did much better than yesterday, actually," Cooper said. "He swung the bat like he had more authority with the swings, from both sides. We're looking up. We're definitely looking up here."

Matsui is also hopeful he'll be ready to begin a rehab assignment next week.

"Next week, the Minor Leagues are an option," Matsui said. "It could be earlier than that, but I doubt it will be later. I'll have to talk to the manager and trainers."

The Astros' Triple-A affiliate opened the season with an eight-game road trip and will be home on Friday, April 11. The Double-A Corpus Christi club will be home Monday and Tuesday, but will head to Tulsa after that to begin a six-game road trip.

Alyson Footer is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.