Luhnow hopes to see Albers, Crain in action

Luhnow hopes to see Albers, Crain in action

BOSTON -- With six weeks remaining in the season, Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow said he'd like to see right-handed reliever Matt Albers pitch in a few games, considering the club has an option on him for the 2015 season.

The Astros signed Albers to a one-year deal worth $2.45 million for this season with an option for next year, but the veteran appeared in only eight games in April before going on the disabled list with right shoulder tendinitis. He's throwing in the bullpen, but he would still have to face hitters before being activated.

"He was great at the beginning of the year, and we just haven't seen anything since then," Luhnow said. "It's important for him to have a big month of September, not only for our option, but also in case we decline it and he can prove he's healthy for other teams."

Ideally, the Astros would like to get Albers out on a Minor League rehab assignment, but the Minor League seasons ends soon.

"We're running into a little bit of a time constraint," Luhnow said. "I would like to get him out in front of hitters, whether we'll do that in a simulated game at Minute Maid Park or on the road with a Minor League affiliate. It's important he faces live action fairly soon, and I'm hopeful that's coming."

As for Jesse Crain, who's been out all season following biceps tendinitis surgery last October, Luhnow remains hopeful he'll pitch in a game as well.

"I had a conversation with him right before we left to come on this road trip and he said he had one of his best throwing sessions so far this year, and that's a good sign," Luhnow said. "He's got to get over the last hump, and hopefully it will happen. It would be nice to have those two guys in the bullpen in September to help us win some games. I'm sure they want to do that as well so they can establish something going into next year."

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.