Johnson unlikely to return before Thursday

Johnson unlikely to return before Thursday

PITTSBURGH -- Astros third baseman Chris Johnson likely won't return to the lineup until Thursday at the earliest. Johnson, who was scratched from the lineup Sunday in Chicago with a muscle strain in his left side, is progressing but probably won't quite be ready for Wednesday's afternoon start time.

"I woke up this morning feeling better," Johnson said Tuesday. "I got some treatment, hit off the tee, did some flips [hitting the ball while it's flipped]. We're going to see what the weather does and see if I can get outside and hit batting practice."

The rain held off in Pittsburgh for Johnson to take BP on the field on Tuesday. He said he can't worry about aggravating the injury, which he suffered swinging the bat on Sunday.

"It it happens again, it happens," he said. "I'm just going to go about my swing. I'm just going to go about my normal way, because it doesn't make sense to be passive. That's just not my swing."

Astros manager Brad Mills didn't sound like he wanted Johnson to play Wednesday.

"That might be rushing him back, but we'll see how he feels," he said.