Lowrie pleased with speedy return

Lowrie pleased with speedy return

MIAMI -- Astros manager Brad Mills was finally able to write the name of shortstop Jed Lowrie into his lineup card Friday. Lowrie, who sprained his right thumb in a March 28 Spring Training game against the Marlins, was in the lineup for Friday's series opener against the Marlins, one day after being activated from the 15-day disabled list.

Lowrie, acquired in a December trade with the Red Sox, was plugged into the No. 2 hole in the batting order, where Mills liked what he saw from him during Spring Training. Other than wearing a protective brace to protect the thumb while running the bases, Lowrie is over the injury.

"I'm actually really happy it went really quick considering how swollen and how bad my thumb looked at the beginning," Lowrie said. "I think it was a fairly quick process. Fifteen days seems like an eternity in baseball, but when you're dealing with an injury like that, I'm happy with how quick it went."

Lowrie, who traditionally has been a stronger hitter from the right side of the plate, had a great spring swinging from the left side, including a pair of home runs. He hopes to be able to continue that into the regular season. He was 3-for-6 with two RBIs and in two rehab starts at Triple-A Oklahoma City.

"I think I really made nice strides from the left side of the plate," he said. "I'm going to continue to build on that, and for me that means the work I put in the cage and batting practice and knowing the results would be there. I hit the ball well in Oklahoma and had some good at-bats and saw a lot of pitches, and I think I accomplished what I wanted to accomplish."