HOUSTON -- Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow is holding out hope injured relievers Matt Albers and Jesse Crain will pitch in a game this season, while on Monday acknowledging "we'd have to see some progress here in the next couple of weeks for sure."
Albers, on the disabled list since April 22 with right shoulder tendinitis, is closer to a return considering he's progressed to the point he's throwing in the bullpen. He threw about 20 fastballs at 80-85 percent Friday and will be back on the mound Tuesday.
"I've stayed optimistic the whole time and continue to progress," he said. "I really hope I can pitch at least the last month. It's not what I had hoped for, obviously, but it's better than nothing."
Crain has missed the entire season as he continues to build up strength in his shoulder following surgery on his right biceps last October. He's still throwing off flat ground, so he's a longer shot than Albers to see action by the end of the year.
"There's still a month and a half left, and they're both working hard to try to get there," Luhnow said.
Albers would like to get some innings under his belt to give him peace of mind entering the offseason that's he's healthy. The Astros hold a club option on Albers for 2015, so they probably would like to see him prove he's healthy, too.
"If I can come back and be able to pitch and be effective, that would be great," Albers said. "I want to have a normal offseason after that, and that's my goal, to get back and pitch the last month."
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.