Elbow improved, Villar returns to lineup for finale

Elbow improved, Villar returns to lineup for finale

MINNEAPOLIS -- After missing the last four games with a bruised right elbow, shortstop Jonathan Villar returned to the lineup for Sunday's series finale against the Twins. Villar had been out since getting struck on the elbow by a pitch Tuesday in Houston.

"He was able to swing [Saturday] and came out and threw with the trainers, and all that went well," manager Bo Porter said. "We're excited to get him back in the lineup, and hopefully he doesn't have any ill effects or any setbacks."

Villar, a switch-hitter, is hitting .193 with five home runs and 17 RBIs, but he's struggled mightily of late. In 23 games prior to Sunday, he was hitting .101 (7-for-69) with four RBIs.

Marwin Gonzalez hit .154 (2-for-13) while starting four games in Villar's absence, including a solo home run in Friday's win. He became the first Astros player to start at shortstop, third base and left field in a season since Brian Bixler in 2012.

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.