Unhealthy Astros host surging Rockies

STATS/TSX

HOUSTON -- One name after another rolled off the tongue of Astros manager A.J. Hinch, whose injury report reads more like something coming from a football coach.

Perhaps the most important update provided by Hinch was the one regarding outfielder George Springer because it appears that Springer will be the first of the six Astros on the 10-day disabled list to earn reinstatement.

Springer, sidelined by a left thumb sprain, participated in a series of running, throwing, and hitting drills before the Astros (73-47) suffered their ninth consecutive home loss, a 5-1 setback to the Colorado Rockies on Tuesday at Minute Maid Park.

Springer is eligible for reinstatement on Thursday. The Astros are optimistic he'll be available to play when they open a critical three-game weekend series at the Oakland Athletics.

"He's going to do everything that he needs to," Hinch said of Springer. "He already threw the bases, he ran the bases, he's going to hit on the field. It's Tuesday, so that's a good sign.

"And then he'll do it again (Wednesday). We have an off day Thursday and hopefully, he'll be ready to go on Friday."

Right-hander Gerrit Cole (10-5, 2.75 ERA) starts Wednesday for the slumping Astros in the series finale versus Colorado. He suffered his third consecutive loss Friday at Minute Maid Park, allowing four runs on six hits over 7 1/3 innings against the Mariners.

Cole is 3-1 with a 2.56 ERA over five career starts against the Rockies. He did not factor into the decision on July 24 after surrendering two runs on five hits and one walk with nine strikeouts over 6 1/3 innings in an 8-2 Astros victory in 10 innings at Coors Field.

Left-hander Tyler Anderson (6-4, 3.94 ERA) will start for the Rockies (64-55) on Wednesday. Anderson faced the Astros and Cole in that July 24 game at Coors Field and allowed two runs (one earned) on three hits and three walks with four strikeouts over 7 1/3 innings. He did not get a decision in that game, which was his only career appearance against Houston.

Anderson is 0-1 with a 3.44 ERA in three interleague starts this season, and this will mark the first interleague road start of his career.

Rockies third baseman Nolan Arenado was back in the starting lineup for the first time in four days on Tuesday, but he also was at someplace other than the hot corner for the first time this season. Following consecutive pinch-hitting appearances against the Los Angeles Dodgers over the weekend, Arenado served as the Rockies' designated hitter Tuesday and finished 1-for-4 with a two-run homer. Arenado departed in the fifth inning Friday night with right shoulder soreness.

Arenado continued a throwing program prior to the game and reported improvement over how he felt throwing pregame Sunday.

"It's always good to have that option to get Nolan in there," Rockies manager Bud Black said. "It's hard not writing his name in the lineup. It becomes pretty consistent to be able to do that; to not do it the last couple days was a little bit different. But we were able to do it; we'll see about (Wednesday). Hopefully, we'll be able to get him in the field. He's gaining on it. He's getting better."

Said Arenado: "Yeah, I didn't like it at all. A little nerve-wracking, just watching the game and not playing a part except for hitting. You just get nervous for the guys. You just want to win so you kind of get antsy. I just feel like I want to do something else other than hit and help out."

The Rockies are just one game behind the first-place Arizona Diamondbacks in the NL West.

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