Angel Sanchez is on track to be the Astros' opening day shortstop, health willing. Clint Barmes was on track to the opening day shortstop, too, health willing, and broke his left hand last Friday. Astros manager Brad Mills wasn't ready on Tuesday – three whole days before the season opener against the Philadelphia Phillies – to anoint Sanchez, saying, "We just hope he continues to be well, stay healthy." "I don't want to jump the gun too far," Mills said. "We've had a couple big injuries hit us." Mills isn't paranoid if the injuries keep coming back to get the Astros. The latest Astros casualty of spring training was lefthander J.A. Happ, who strained his right oblique during a 9-6 exhibition victory against the Triple-A Oklahoma City RedHawks. Happ, who is No. 3 in the Astros rotation, said he is still holding out hope he'll make his scheduled turn on Sunday. "I'm sort of delirious with frustration right now," said Happ, who is scheduled to start opposite the pitcher the Phillies traded him for, Roy Oswalt. "I'm staying optimistic. That's all I can do." Happ strained his intercostal, which is located a little higher on the side than the oblique, in 2009 and missed a little over two weeks. Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Jon Garland strained an oblique in mid-March and is expected to miss 4-6 weeks. Yankees pitcher Joba Chamberlain stained an oblique on March 11 and was on the mound 11 days later. Tim Hudson suffered a severe oblique strain in 2004 with the Oakland A's and missed six weeks. "I know they're really frustrating things to have," said Happ, who went 5-4 with a 3.75 earned run average in 13 starts for the Astros last season. "If you don't care of them, they'll linger. Having said that, I hope I'll wake up (today) and things are good." Astros general manager Ed Wade said "it's too early tell" what – if any – contingency plans the team might have to make. Happ was reporting no pain after his outing, but the Astros medical staff will monitor him in the morning.
Another Astro bites the dust? Happ leaves game with injury, could start season on DL
Houston Chronicle | Mar 30