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Norris scratched due to stomach illness

Norris scratched due to stomach illness

KISSIMMEE, Fla. -- When Bud Norris arrived for his scheduled start on Friday morning, the Astros' right-hander continued to nurse a stomach flu that's been spreading around the clubhouse for the past two weeks. And though he wanted to throw at least a couple of innings, Norris was scratched from the lineup against the Blue Jays at Osceola Park Stadium, with non-roster invitee Josh Banks taking his place.

The plan is for Norris to pitch after Brian Moehler on Sunday in a split-squad doubleheader against the Red Sox in Fort Myers, Fla. Each is scheduled to throw four innings.

"I've definitely been feeling pretty messed up the last couple of days, not feeling up to it, not able to get any energy," Norris said. "[Head athletic trainer Nathan Lucero] said it wouldn't be a good idea to go out there and really hurt yourself. So, we're going to wait a couple of days until I'm 100 percent."

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The 25-year-old, pretty much a lock to fill out the back end of the Astros rotation this season, has given up three runs in five innings (a 5.40 ERA) through two starts this spring. Norris had a 2.63 ERA in 19 starts for Triple-A Round Rock in 2009, then went 6-3 with a 4.53 ERA in 11 games (10 starts) for the Astros.

Norris, who said he ate only an apple on Thursday and that it took him about an hour to finish it, expressed confidence that he can make his next outing.

"I felt better today than I have the last couple of days," Norris said, "but at the same time, I'm just going to take my time, get over it day by day and hopefully just make progress each day."

Catcher Jason Castro also caught the virus last week. On Thursday, Carlos Lee was feeling sick, but he still wanted to serve as the designated hitter against the Tigers in Lakeland, Fla., which he did, going 0-for-3 with two strikeouts. Manager Brad Mills said his left fielder was "feeling better" on Friday.

Alden Gonzalez is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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