Lee's ankle making steady improvement

Lee's ankle making steady improvement

CINCINNATI -- Astros first baseman Carlos Lee said following Sunday's 6-5 loss to the Reds that his sprained left ankle is improving, and that he hopes to return next week. Lee has not played since spraining the ankle in the first inning of Friday's game.

"It's not my call, but I hope to give it a shot," said Lee, who still had his ankle heavily wrapped on Sunday. "It's feeling better. Still a little sore. I won't know for sure until I get in for treatment [Monday] and move around a little bit."

Astros manager Brad Mills said Lee is probably one or two days away from getting back on the playing field. Lee was not available to pinch-hit Sunday, Mills said.

Lee sprained his ankle while trying to field a low throw from third baseman Chris Johnson on a slow roller from Reds leadoff batter Zack Cozart. X-rays taken Friday were negative, and Lee has been receiving daily treatment on his ankle.

Prior to Sunday's game, Mills said right-handed reliever Rhiner Cruz, who hasn't pitched since Monday due to a sore right ankle, is improving. Cruz could be available when the Astros return home on Monday to begin a series against the Mets.