CINCINNATI -- Astros manager Ed Wade and head athletic trainer Nate Lucero spent quite a bit of time together near the batting cage Tuesday afternoon going over the Astros' growing list of medical issues. The latest addition is first baseman Lance Berkman, who was scratched from the lineup Tuesday against the Reds after hurting his back lifting weights Monday night.
Infielder/outfielder Darin Erstad, closer Jose Valverde and reliever Billy Sadler were also unavailable Tuesday.
"It's like a M*A*S*H. unit," Wade said. "You check in every seven minutes to see who the next guy is to fall out." Astros manager Cecil Cooper said Berkman will likely be out for Wednesday's series finale against the Reds, but Wade said Lucero believes Berkman may be able to do some baseball-related activities Wednesday. "It's just the middle of my back has a spasm or some kind of a tweaked muscle," Berkman said. "That's all I know. Last night after the game, I went to lift weights and I got the dumbbells and sat down on the bench to do dumbbell bench. And I had to have [strength and conditioning coach] Doc Coleman come and get the weights from me. I couldn't move. It locked up on me." Valverde didn't travel with the team to Cincinnati because of a high fever and a sore throat, but Wade said he has been cleared to fly and hopes to have him join the team in time for Wednesday's game. Erstad has been nursing a sore lower back for several days and has been shuffling gingerly around the clubhouse. "He's got some pretty significant lower-back spasms," Wade said. "Nate is struggling to project him being available [Wednesday], and we'll wait and see after that. Hopefully it resolves itself with the treatment he's getting. He's not doing real well right now." Sadler, who made his Astros debut last week in the only game in which he's appeared with Houston, has right shoulder issues. "The scapula strength still isn't where it needs to be," Wade said.
Brian McTaggart is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.