Norris' Sunday start still up in the air

Norris' Sunday start still up in the air

DETROIT -- Two days after tweaking his back throwing warmup pitches prior to the sixth inning of his start in Monday's 7-2 loss to Detroit, Astros starter Bud Norris' status is still in question for Sunday's series finale against the Pirates.

It's not completely unexpected, as back injuries -- he was officially diagnosed with lower back spasms -- tend to linger for a few days before improving.

Manager Bo Porter said on Wednesday he's going to continue to take a wait-and-see approach, with the hope that Norris can indeed take the hill in Pittsburgh. However, Porter's also not going to risk a slight, nagging injury turn into an extended absence.

"I talked to the trainers and backs can be tricky," Porter said. "We'll weigh all those options and make the best decision long term, because this is one start, and we don't want this to linger through the course of the year. We want to be very cognizant and make sure we're doing something that's going to affect him long term."

Porter said Norris' status would be determined "in the next couple days."

Reliever Josh Fields, meanwhile, continued his rehab assignment at Class A Quad Cities. The right-hander made two appearances recording two outs before suffering a strained right forearm. He's thrown four innings, yielding two hits and striking out four for the River Bandits.

"We'll have to make a decision when he's ready to go from a physical standpoint," said Porter.

Justin Maxwell, who stayed in Houston for treatment on his fractured left hand during the six-game road trip, has begun lightly swinging a fungo bat, Porter said.

Anthony Odoardi is a contributor to This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.