LOS ANGELES -- There's finally a light at the end of the tunnel for Astros reliever Doug Brocail.
Brocail, on the disabled list since May 4 with a left hamstring strain, will begin a lengthy Minor League rehab assignment Monday at Triple-A Round Rock. Brocail threw 30 pitches and faced live hitters in a simulated game Friday at Dodger Stadium and was encouraged.
"I still have to go out on rehab because when you're throwing a simulated game all you're doing is throwing pitches," Brocail said. "Tomorrow we'll do some [pitchers fielding practice] on the side and Sunday throw a bullpen and then I'll go out."
Brocail, 41, will pitch in Round Rock on Monday and Wednesday before switching to Double-A Corpus Christi, where he'll pitch July 25-26, July 28 and July 30. All six of Brocail's scheduled Minor League outings will be one inning.
"I haven't really tested it as far as game speed," Brocail said. "I can do all the running I want to do and I can do all the breaking towards first, but until there's a runner on first and I have to really over-stride and make a quick stride, nobody's going to know."
The right-hander was pleased with his velocity Friday but wasn't too worried about his location. Astros pitching coach Dewey Robinson was encouraged with what he saw.
"You could see he worked very hard on his arm strength," Robinson said. "Even though he was down with a leg injury, he made sure his arm stayed in shape. That was one of his biggest concerns. Obviously, he's worked very hard at that end of it. Now he just needs to face hitters in game situation."
Brocail set a career high with 72 appearances last year in his return to Houston, but hasn't been able to stay on the field this season. He was previously on the disabled list in April with a rotator cuff strain and has only appeared in seven games this season.
Brian McTaggart is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.