ST. PETERSBURG -- Astros closer Chad Qualls was throwing for the first time in a week when he tossed a scoreless inning in Thursday's 5-0 loss to the Rays. Qualls had been dealing with what he called a groin "tweak," which coupled with the fact the Astros did not have many save opportunities in the past week had kept Qualls off the mound.
Qualls said he tweaked his groin in Minnesota two weeks ago and had been dealing with it on and off for more than a week while he got treatment.
"We were winning a lot and I was pitching, so I never had a chance to give it multiple days off," Qualls said.
Qualls has a 2.19 ERA, with scoreless outings in 20 of his most recent 21 times on the mound. The bullpen has scuffled in the past week or so, which has coincided with the starters not working as deep into games as they did for much of May and early June.
"Sometimes, if some of [the relievers] can get two days off in a row and rest your whole body, your legs, your everything, it helps," he said. "A lot of those guys down here haven't gotten two in a row. They've gotten one day off and pitched two and maybe one day off and pitched three. That happens over the course of the year in the bullpen. I think we'll pull through and go back to feeling good again."