HOUSTON -- While the Astros may have been down three starters on Monday, one full-timer returned to the order.
Shortstop Jonathan Villar was back in the finale against the Rangers following a four-game break as he dealt with a sprained left thumb.
Manager Bo Porter said the past two days were as much about facing a lefty, which would have required the switch-hitting rookie to bat right-handed. Villar said hitting from the right side was significantly more painful because of the pressure of the top hand on the injured thumb.
"We knew a few days ago that he'd have the last two days off, just because it affects him more when he swings right-handed and they had two lefties throwing," Porter said. "The plan was always to have him back today."
Villar injured the thumb sliding into third base during the fourth inning of Tuesday's 15-10 loss to Boston.
The Dominican Republic native pinch-ran and played the field for an inning during Saturday night's 5-4 loss to Texas.
Prior to the injury, Villar had played in 15 straight games since being called up from Triple-A Oklahoma City, swiping 10 bases during that span.
"It's good to have Villar back, not just from a speed standpoint and the havoc and he can create on the basepaths, but his defense has been missed at shortstop as well," Porter said.
Villar's replacement at shortstop, Jake Elmore, committed an error in both Saturday and Sunday's games, with each leading to an unearned run.
Chris Abshire is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.