HOUSTON -- After he "faced" teammate Brandon Backe in a simulated game on Wednesday, Doug Brocail said he was going to try to talk his manager and pitching coach out of sending him out on a Minor League rehab assignment. Brocail was slated to throw one inning for Triple-A Round Rock on Friday, in anticipation of being activated from the disabled list on Sunday, the first day he's eligible.
Initially, manager Cecil Cooper and pitching coach Dewey Robinson said that Brocail will make the Minor League appearance. About an hour before game time, however, that plan had changed. Brocail is instead going to throw another simulated game on Friday in lieu of pitching in Round Rock.
The schedule for the other two rehabbing pitchers remains the same, however. Brian Moehler will throw five innings for the Express on Friday, and Brandon Backe will throw four frames on Monday.
Backe is more than ready to do something other than throw these simulated games at Minute Maid Park. The high-energy pitcher made that clear Wednesday after his three-inning "start," facing teammates Darin Erstad, Michael Bourn, Jason Smith and Humberto Quintero.
"It's all about getting my arm in shape," Backe said. "That's all it is. If they needed me to pitch out of the bullpen, I'm ready to go. But I need to be a starter. That's what I am. I have to build myself up to 100 pitches, and hopefully it doesn't take that long."
Brocail's simulated outing was shorter, and to the veteran reliever, it's just a matter of riding out the final days until he's eligible to come off the DL.
"The swelling went down, and on the fourth day, I was feeling pretty good," Brocail said. "The only bad thing is you have to ride out the 15 days. I felt good. It's the hardest I've thrown in about a year, so I'll take it. I actually threw strikes today, so I can't complain."
Erstad wasn't surprised to hear that Brocail was trying to get out of the Minor League rehab outing, and according to the veteran outfielder, Brocail is ready now.
"He was the same Brocail," Erstad said. "Ball moving in every direction possible, he's screaming at you in the batter's box. He's in peak form. He's ready."
Alyson Footer is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.