ARLINGTON -- First baseman Carlos Lee appears to be on target to be activated in time for Sunday's series finale against the Rangers. Lee, who's been on the DL for two weeks with a left hamstring strain, went 1-for-3 with a homer as the designated hitter in his first rehab appearance for Double-A Corpus Christi on Thursday.
Lee, who's staying the Astros at their hotel in Dallas because Corpus Christi is playing in nearby Frisco, is scheduled to play Friday and Saturday for the Hooks and should be activated Sunday if all goes well.
Meanwhile, a trio of other players is progressing from various injuries.
Shortstop Marwin Gonzalez, who's been out since June 7 with a bruised right heel, took swings off a tee for the first time Friday and expects to be able to play in a week.
"It still hurt, but I'm getting better every day," he said. "I was still a little sore, but I hope to be OK in one week."
Outfielder Travis Buck is making progress from the right Achilles' tendinitis that's kept him in the shelf since May 29, and outfielder Fernando Martinez is scheduled to go through more tests next week in Houston to gauge his health. He went on the 7-day DL on Saturday with post-concussion syndrome.
"If he comes through OK, he might be ready to start here pretty quick on a rehab assignment by the end of [next] week," manager Brad Mills said. "The guys are coming around and hopefully we're getting healthy and going to get guys back again."
Sprained right elbow lands Lopez on DL
ARLINGTON -- There was a reason right-hander Wilton Lopez didn't see any action during the Astros' series in San Francisco this week.
Lopez, who's among the most used relievers in the National League, went on the 15-day disabled list Friday with a sprained right elbow. He flew to Houston from San Francisco and was examined Thursday by team doctors, who determined he needed some rest.
Houston activated left-hander Fernando Abad, giving manager Brad Mills three lefties in the bullpen.
The workhorse Lopez was 3-0 with a 2.51 ERA in 32 games for the Astros.
"It was really unfortunate," Mills said. "He threw Sunday [in Chicago] and felt fine and came out Tuesday and felt a little tenderness. After getting him checked out, we felt it would be best to give him some rest."
Abad had been on the DL since May 26 with a right intercostal strain. He'll join Xavier Cedeno and Wesley Wright as the lefties in an eight-man bullpen.
"We want to get him back to like he was throwing the ball earlier in the year," Mills said.
Norris unlikely to make Sunday start
ARLINGTON -- It's looking increasingly unlikely that Bud Norris will be able to take his next scheduled turn in the rotation Sunday against the Rangers. The Astros have listed that spot in the rotation as TBA since Norris sprained his knee in his previous start Tuesday in San Francisco.
Norris isn't commenting on the condition of the knee, but manager Brad Mills didn't sound confident Friday while giving up an update on Norris.
"We're going to wait and see," he said. "We're hoping things turn for the better and we're able to work things out. Obviously, we need to make that decision here pretty quickly, and we will [Saturday] at some point."
Norris threw in the bullpen on Thursday in San Francisco to test the knee.
"He still felt it a little bit," Mills said. "He said he was still a little tentative with it to where he wasn't sure if he was actually going to feel it when he landed. That's one of the reasons we're dragging our feet a little bit. We want to see if he can get that confidence back of not being tentative."