Badly timed injuries to first baseman Carlos Lee and outfielder Travis Buck have the Astros wondering just how short their bench can go in an effort to avoid disabled list stints. Buck was already banged up before, and Lee was injured during the Astros' 4-1 loss to the Cincinnati Reds on Friday at Minute Maid Park. Lee pulled his left hamstring Friday, and Buck has a sore right heel. Manager Brad Mills seems to want to avoid a move with his team, which hasn't sent a position player to the DL since spring training. But he acknowledged there's a limit to how far he'll go with a three-man bench. "There's always a possibility," Mills said of a move. "We'll make sure we'll check some things out with Carlos. With Travis, the doctor's in there looking at them both and we're trying to maneuver our way through some of those things right now and see how they go." Lee would be the bigger loss, mostly from a standpoint of his hitting for average. Though his slugging percentage has dropped to .411, he's still hitting .297 from his everyday cleanup spot. Lee was injured in the eighth inning of Friday's game running out what would be his second double play ball of the game. He was immediately replaced and will be re-examined on Saturday and perhaps Sunday before a decision is made. "I felt it and couldn't run," Lee said. "I had to stop." Buck's heel started swelling up in Monday's second game against Colorado, and he has not played since. He was in a boot before Friday's game and was unavailable.
- Travis Buck
- Carlos Lee