CINCINNATI -- Ty Wigginton has played only 16 games in the outfield in his career, but on Monday, he's going to take somewhat of a crash course in left field when the Astros return to Houston.
Not "crash" in the literal sense, of course. The goal is to expose Wigginton to the quirky left-field wall at Minute Maid Park, where balls either fall flat to the ground or carom in a dozen different directions, depending on what part of the out-of-town scoreboard it hits.
"I think we've seen all the balls come off that wall," Wigginton said. "If it catches one of those little grooves, no matter if you've been out there 100 times, you still don't know where the ball is going to go. It can bounce in any direction, so you can't really worry about that."
Carlos Lee's season-ending finger injury hasn't turned Wigginton into the full-time left fielder, and it's more likely that he'll play there only in emergency situations. Darin Erstad can count on receiving the bulk of the starts there for the rest of the season, but manager Cecil Cooper needs options. Reggie Abercrombie is one. Wigginton, who made one appearance in left field and one in right in 2007, is another.
But first, Wigginton must practice.
"When we get home, we'll have him take some fly balls out to left, play the wall a little bit," Cooper said. "He'll get some work in [Monday]. I'm sure he hasn't taken balls off the wall."
Said Wigginton: "I'll just shag during [batting practice]. Whenever I played outfield in the past, that's what I've done, so that's what I'm going to do."
Cooper hasn't decided who he'll play in left during the upcoming four-game series with the Giants, but there is a small chance he could go with Wigginton one or both of the games the Astros face left-handed pitchers. Lefty Jonathan Sanchez starts Monday, and Barry Zito will start Wednesday.
"That might be a chance to play him," Cooper said. "He's a candidate to play."
Lance Berkman, who has extensive experience in the outfield, could also play the outfield in an emergency situation.
Alyson Footer is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.