Astros have trio of DH options

Astros have trio of DH options

HOUSTON -- Manager Cecil Cooper will have a little more game-planning to do when the Astros take flight on their six-game Interleague road trip Tuesday.

Houston will have to come up with a designated hitter for the games in Baltimore and Tampa Bay. But Cooper is familiar with the assignment. He had to do the same thing in three games in Arlington against the Texas Rangers earlier this season.

He said he will use a similar formula this go-round.

First baseman Lance Berkman took the DH spot in the Astros' first Interleague road game this season, while Darin Erstad took his spot at first base.

In Game 2 Berkman was back at first, and Carlos Lee got the designated-hitting assignment. Erstad took his place in left field.

The finale saw Berkman back at DH. Mark Loretta played first.

Cooper said he will use the six days to give his more over-worked players an opportunity to rest while still using their strong at-bat talents.

"I know my big boys will all get an opportunity," Cooper said. "Lance might get a couple, and maybe Miggie [shortstop Miguel Tejada] will get a couple, too. They need it. Those guys have played pretty much every day. Those are the guys we want to ride through the summer and to the end of the season."

Berkman is the only player of the Big Three who has not gotten an official day off this season.

He's currently batting .362 in 246 at-bats (67 games) with 23 doubles and 19 home runs and has 57 RBIs.

Krysten Oliphant is an associate reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.