Hitting coach Sean Berry had to "pinch-hit" for third-base coach Ed Romero, who was hit on the inside of his left kneecap by a Miguel Tejada liner during the third inning on Thursday in Baltimore. By the time the team landed in Tampa Bay in the wee hours Friday morning, Romero was finding it difficult to even move.
X-rays taken on Romero's knee were negative, but he'll have to miss a handful of games to recover. Triple-A manager Dave Clark will join the team to coach third base in Romero's absence, and Triple-A hitting coach Ron Jackson will manage the Express while Clark is away.
The Astros hope Romero can return to his third-base coaching duties by Tuesday.
Romero, 50, was hoping that the injury was nothing more serious than a bad bruise, but considering he was hobbling around on crutches, he realized the injury could be more serious.
"I don't have really pain, pain," Romero said. "It's just uncomfortable."
When Romero was originally struck by the foul ball, he simply smiled and stayed in the game. Apparently, the pain was worse than he led on.
"I didn't realize how hard it actually hit him," manager Cecil Cooper said. "He showed me he's pretty tough, to stay in there and finish the game like that. I guess last night it really hit me when he came off the airplane and he was barely making it."
Cooper designated Berry as the fill-in third-base coach on Friday, after first checking with several of his coaches to decide who would be up for the job.
"I was a third-base coach for [bench coach] Jackie [Moore]," Berry said, referring to his two years as a coach for the Astros' Double-A club. "He told me, 'Just send everybody.' He said they never get mad at you for sending them."
Alyson Footer is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.