ST. LOUIS -- After playing in back-to-back nine-inning games for the first time since returning from a right knee injury that kept him sidelined for nearly two months, shortstop Jed Lowrie was held out of the Astros' starting lineup for Thursday's day game against the Cardinals at Busch Stadium to give the knee a day of rest.
"Personally, I don't think he's 100 percent with that knee," Astros interim manager Tony DeFrancesco said. "I think there's still some stuff going on in there and he's playing with that big knee brace. Two days in a row is good for him."
Lowrie has a five-game hitting streak, having batted .250 (5-for-20) since missing 52 games with the injury to his right ankle and leg. Lowrie understands he has to be worked back into full-time duty.
"I'm happy with the way the knee responded," Lowrie said. "That's the plan -- continue to build up the strength toward the end of the year. Hopefully at the end of the year, I'll be playing every day and the legs will be good to go."
With Lowrie out, rookie Marwin Gonzalez started at shortstop, seeing his first action since injuring his left ankle on Aug. 30.
"It's good to see Gonzo back," DeFrancesco said. "He's not 100 percent running right now, but defensively, he says he can move around out there. We need him back in the lineup. He's a guy we're planning on being our utility guy for next season, and we want to make sure he finishes the season strong and gets some at-bats and gets into the groove."
Meanwhile, shortstop Tyler Greene is hobbled with right knee soreness.
"He went out and ran and said he can go," DeFrancesco said. "Gonzo is going to give us as much as he can, and probably late in the game, [we'll] have to double-switch him out there and get Greene to play some shortstop. That's the plan."