PITTSBURGH -- It's only been a little more than a month since Jose Valverde was placed on the 15-day disabled list due to a right calf strain.
But for the erstwhile Astros closer, it seems like much longer than that.
"When I sit around at my house, I'm bored," Valverde said. "It's too much for me. I'm a guy who wants to compete all the time. When I see my team play -- you know what I mean? -- I want to be there."
So now Valverde is there. Not there, as in out on the mound closing out games for the Astros, but "there," as in on the road and in the clubhouse with his teammates.
Valverde joined the team for the second half of its current road trip, the first time he has been able to be with his teammates while they were away since going on the DL on April 27.
"I was doing my rehab work [at home], and the trainer asked me, 'You feel OK?' so I said, 'Yeah, I feel better,' " Valverde said. "He said, 'Why don't you come here and be with the team?' I said, 'Yeah, why not?' so here I am. I feel better here than sitting down at my house doing nothing.
"I want to be there supporting my guys, my bullpen guys, saying, 'Let's go,' things like that."
Valverde injured himself fielding a ground ball on April 21 and appeared in two games after that before the pain and swelling became too much. He has had a frustrating rehabilitation since, including a second opinion from Dr. John Uribe in Miami.
Valverde is not close to a return, but he said, "I feel a lot better," and joked that he "lost a few pounds" through the rehab.
Valverde participated in long tossing and stretching with the team before its game against the Pirates on Friday.
"We just wanted to keep an eye on him, [keep] a little closer watch on him," manager Cecil Cooper said.
Chris Adamski is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.