Norris improving, could be nearing rehab stint

Norris improving, could be nearing rehab stint

Norris improving, could be nearing rehab stint
HOUSTON -- Astros pitcher Bud Norris, who was placed on the 15-day disabled list Sunday with a sprained left knee, threw in the bullpen prior to Monday's game and was encouraged by how much better he felt. Norris could be sent on a rehab assignment by the end of the week.

Houston pitching coach Doug Brocail watched Norris closely and was pleased with what he saw. "Bud looks a lot better," Brocail said. "He said he was pain-free, so we're going to attack it that way. He'll probably have a day off, throw another light side. If he looks as good as he did today, we'll send him out on a rehab."

Norris, who is 5-4 with a 4.81 ERA in 13 starts, sprained his knee pitching against the Giants on Tuesday in San Francisco. He was scheduled to start Sunday against the Rangers, but the Astros called up left-hander Dallas Keuchel from Triple-A Oklahoma City to make his Major League debut.

Norris, 27, injured his hip flexor May 31 against the Rockies and wasn't the same. He was 5-1 with a 3.34 ERA in his first 10 starts of the season, but just 0-3 with a 13.09 ERA in his next three starts as he dealt with leg problems.