HOUSTON -- While the rest of his teammates head north of the border Monday night in advance of a three-game series against the Blue Jay in his native Toronto, relief pitcher Jesse Crain will fly to Kissimmee, Fla., to continue his rehab at Osceola County Stadium.
Crain, who didn't pitch in the second half of last year after being traded to the Rays and underwent surgery in October, is hoping to return to action by May after undergoing biceps tendinitis surgery. He hopes to progress enough to throw in some extended spring games in the next week or 10 days.
"I think once I'm to that point, it'll be pretty quick for me to come back," he said. "It's getting to know how I feel and feeling 100 percent."
Crain has thrown off the mound twice this spring, but he stopped short of calling those full bullpen sessions.
"I consider a bullpen actually pitching and throwing breaking pitches," he said. "That's why I'm saying the things I've done are just throwing off the mound. The more I get a feel for it, I'll see if I can get through it. A bullpen is where I'm pitching and letting the ball go and throwing it where I want to throw it and throwing breaking balls and all that."
The Astros continue to proceed cautiously with Crain, who signed a one-year, $3.25 million contract to pitch for his hometown team. Crain was an All-Star in a 2013 season in which he posted a 0.74 ERA in 38 games with the White Sox, striking out 46 and walking only 11 batters in 36 2/3 innings, including a 29-inning scoreless streak.
Crain was born in Toronto, but only lived in Canada for three months. He said his parents where there for work when he was born.
Brian McTaggart is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, Tag's Lines. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.