Cooper loads up on lefties vs. Sheets

Astros go southpaw vs. Sheets

MILWAUKEE -- Astros manager Cecil Cooper knew Miguel Tejada wasn't going to be happy with him as soon as the shortstop took a look at the lineup card on Tuesday and saw his name wasn't on it.

Cooper went heavy on the left-handed hitters to face Brewers co-ace Ben Sheets and found that to be a perfect opportunity to give his shortstop a break, especially since the Astros are playing an afternoon game Wednesday.

"He'll face the lefty [Manny Parra] tomorrow, and he has Thursday off to get refreshed," Cooper said. "This lets me use all my left-handers and then give him rest."

Cooper usually tells players a day ahead of time if they're not playing, but he made his lineup decision Tuesday and therefore didn't talk to Tejada beforehand. Because Tejada never wants days off, Cooper knew the decision may not be well received.

"If he's upset, he's upset," Cooper said. "That's OK. He wants to play, and that's good. I'm just looking out for him."

Cooper played Darin Erstad in left, Michael Bourn in center and Geoff Blum at shortstop. David Newhan started at second, while the red-hot Ty Wigginton moved back to his normal position at third after playing more than a week in left field.

Alyson Footer is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.