Boone to complete remarkable journey

Boone to complete long journey

CHICAGO -- Aaron Boone doesn't know if he'll start, pinch-run, pinch-hit or come in as a defensive replacement, and he really doesn't care.

Boone, who underwent open-heart surgery in March, is expected to make his 2009 debut for the Astros on Tuesday, when they face the Cubs at Wrigley Field. He played in 11 Minor League rehab games and hit .154 in 26 at-bats, but that experience won't rival his return to the Majors.

"I don't know what to expect, but I know I'll be prepared to play," said Boone, who will be activated when rosters expand on Tuesday. "I'm just looking forward to being back and being part of the team."

Astros manager Cecil Cooper said he hadn't mapped out a plan for Boone, but said he could start Wednesday against left-hander Ted Lilly. As for Tuesday's game, Cooper made no promises.

"He's available, but I can't say if he'll start," Cooper said. "I'll look at it and try to figure out a way to get him in there. There's always that opportunity to pinch-hit or play defense or [double] switch. I haven't laid out a specific plan for him.

"He'll be activated and be a part of the squad, but at this point you can't make promises about anything. He'll get in there when he can, that's what I told him."

Boone admitted he will have some butterflies.

"I had those in the Minor Leagues, so I'm sure I'll have them here, too," he said. "That's the beauty of it."

The Astros are also expected to activate relief pitchers Doug Brocail and Wesley Wright, both of whom were on Minor League rehab assignments.

"It's just good to get some extra arms," Cooper said. "These are guys we counted on to help us over the course of the summer, and for the most part have not been with us throughout the summer. The last month we've had to stretch people probably a lot further than we normally would."

Pitching matchup
HOU: RHP Brian Moehler (8-9, 5.26 ERA)
Moehler turned in a quality start in his last game, though he wasn't around to get the decision in a 4-3 victory over the Cardinals. He allowed three runs on six hits in six innings. Moehler has been far better on the road this season, compiling a 4.35 ERA compared to a 6.14 mark at Minute Maid Park.

CHC: RHP Randy Wells (9-7, 3.06 ERA)
Wells had trouble with his slider in his last start against the Nationals, and wasn't able to get the ground-ball outs that he normally does. The right-hander served up five runs on five hits and four walks over 6 1/3 innings and took the loss. He's trying to become the first Cubs rookie to reach double-digit wins since Kerry Wood won 13 games in 1998. Wells now has given up five earned runs in two of his last three starts. In two starts against Houston this year, he's not given up a single run over 14 innings.

Right fielder Hunter Pence batted seventh in the lineup Monday for the first time since the opening two games of the season. ... Entering Monday, the Astros had the second-highest ERA (5.25) and second-lowest batting average (.246) in the National League in August. ... Outfielder Jason Michaels has 28 hits this year, 16 of which have gone for extra bases. ... Center fielder Michael Bourn has reached base in 24 consecutive games via a hit or a walk, the longest active streak in the Majors.

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On the Internet
 Gameday Audio
•  Gameday
•  Official game notes

On television

On radio
• KTRH 740, KLAT 1010 (Español)

Up next
• Wednesday: Astros (TBD) at Cubs (Ted Lilly, 9-8, 3.35), 1:20 p.m. CT
• Thursday: Off-day
• Friday: Astros (TBD) vs. Phillies (Cliff Lee, 12-10, 2.83), 7:05 p.m. CT

Brian McTaggart is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.