Notes: Jennings throws off the mound
No timetable yet for right-hander's return to club
HOUSTON -- Jason Jennings threw 40 pitches -- all fastballs -- off the mound on Friday and if he recovers well from that, he'll increase the total to 50 or 60 pitches on Sunday. He's also hoping he'll be able to mix in a few breaking balls during that session.
Jennings, who has been on the disabled list since April 9, still has no timetable for when he may return but he's hoping that he won't have to first make a Minor League rehab start before he can return to the Astros.
"I don't know what their policy is here," he said. "I don't know that I want to waste any bullets on a Minor League game if I feel confident and the trainers and coaches feel confident. It was painful my first two starts and I was still getting results. I was still getting those chances to win those games. I'll assume that if I'm feeling good, I can go out and do the same thing."
Talks tabled: Purpura and Jennings' agent, Casey Close, decided during Spring Training to table all contract talks regarding the soon-to-be free agent pitcher until after the season.
"We said in Spring Training there was no urgency to get anything done," Purpura said. "We said at that point that if we get to the season, there's no reason to negotiate in the season. We can always wait until the season is over. Neither side felt any compel to push it."
Said Jennings: "What it boils down to is it's not in my control. I trust my agent if there are talks that are going on. I'd rather not be in the middle of it. I'm concentrating on getting healthy and doing my job when I get back."
Cortisone shot: Woody Williams had never had a cortisone shot in his career, until recently, when he received an injection in his right elbow after his most recent start on Tuesday in Pittsburgh.
Williams had been dealing with discomfort in his elbow since Spring Training, and finally decided a shot was the best course of action to erase the remnants of his past ailment.
"It's been in the back of my mind," he said. "Even though the last start the results were a little bit better, I felt like I was still a little short on where I need to be. I was trying to get through it without having to do it, but I figured as good a time as any is right now."
Williams is on schedule to start Sunday's series finale with the Brewers.
Gifts for Woody: Williams, a proud Houstonian and even prouder University of Houston alum, was surprised to find a crush of paraphanalia from his alma mater waiting for him at his locker when he arrived to the clubhouse on Friday.
The mish-mosh of goodies included UH T-shirts, hats, pennants, sweatshirt and a silver flask -- all sitting in a UH laundry basket.
Also included was an oversized card, signed by dozens of UH fans. Williams wasn't sure who the signees were, but he chuckled at one message:
"Tell that guy from Rice to go get some hits."
Here today, gone tomorrow: Stephen Randolph was hoping this callup would be his big break, but it ended up lasting only about 36 hours.
Lost in the Hunter Pence callup and Chris Burke demotion was the news that Randolph was designated for assignment following Friday's game.
"I thought this was the opportunity," Randolph said. "I thought I had a chance to shine, but it's the game. It's the business part of it. You just go on and pitch and see what you can do."
Randolph's demotion means the Astros will utilize an 11-man pitching staff -- a rather unconventional move based on recent history.
"It concerns me, but we've got two guys in [Dave] Borkowski and [Brian] Moehler who can go multiple innings, and, I think, can bounce back a little bit," Garner said. "It's something we're willing to take a chance with."
Coming up: The Astros will host the Brewers on Saturday for the second game of the three-game weekend set. Gametime is set for 6:05 p.m. CT and will feature right-hander Chris Sampson (2-1, 4.26) and Brewers righty Dave Bush (2-1, 5.04).
Alyson Footer is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.