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Fowler back with Astros, but not in lineup

Fowler back with Astros, but not in lineup

HOUSTON -- Astros outfielder Dexter Fowler rejoined the team on Monday following a bout with a stomach virus that had kept him at home for a few days and even put him in the hospital for a night. He told reporters he was feeling better, but was still unavailable to play.

Fowler, who has lost eight pounds during the ordeal, hasn't played since last Thursday, when he went 2-for-4 for the third game in a row. He was set to travel with the team to Toronto for a three-game series against the Blue Jays, beginning Tuesday.

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"I'm pretty weak right now," Fowler said. "I'm going to see if I can eat some food now. I haven't eaten in three days. It's all been liquids and rice and stuff. I'm getting better and just happy everything has slowed down a little bit and I can go out there and be with the team."

Fowler was in good spirits as he joked around with teammates prior to Monday's game.

"I'm just happy to be around the guys," he said. "I was happy for them [for Sunday's win]. I missed them a lot."

The Astros have definitely missed Fowler at the top of the lineup, but manager Bo Porter understands Fowler needs to build up his strength. Fowler went 6-for-12 in the team's first three games with two doubles, a triple and a homer.

"One of the best decisions the doctor made was allowing him to rest the last few days, instead of trying to rush him back," Porter said. "He showed up today in better condition than he would have shown up yesterday, so that's promising."

Fowler said he hasn't been told what caused the virus and said doctors are still doing tests.

"It happens," Fowler said. "It's part of life. Like I said, it's a blessing that it wasn't worse than it was. It was pretty bad, but luckily I'm still not hospitalized."

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.

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