HOUSTON -- The Astros moved a huge step closer to getting another valuable arm back to the bullpen when they announced Thursday that right-hander Josh Fields, taken by the club in last year's Rule 5 Draft, would begin a Minor League rehab stint at Class A Quad Cities.
Fields, who appeared in two games in the first week of the season before going on the disabled list with a strained right forearm, is scheduled to throw two innings Friday against Cedar Rapids in his first rehab appearance.
"He clearly has passed a hurdle that we were hoping he would pass and now we're ready to see him in games in real competition," general manager Jeff Luhnow said.
Fields had been working out at extended spring training and pitched twice in back-to-back games with short rest without any problems.
"Now it's up being underneath the lights in more intense competition and see how it goes, and hopefully he'll progress from there and end up here shortly," Luhnow said. "We have a plan for him. He's going to pitch a certain number of innings over a certain number of days. We're not so much looking at how many guys he strikes out, but it's more of how he's feeling, because we know he's capable of doing what he did with his two innings up here. He'll be a nice addition to the bullpen when he's ready to come back."