HOUSTON -- A young female Astros fan got a painful lesson in chivalry Monday night at Minute Maid Park.
The woman, identified only as Sarah, was struck on the right arm by a foul ball off the bat of Chris Johnson in the fourth inning while sitting down the left-field line -- a ball that she didn't see coming because her boyfriend ducked out of the way at the last second.
"As soon as we got here and I saw where we were sitting, I said 'Baby, we're going to get hit,'" the woman said when interviewed during the game. "He said, 'No, I'll catch it if you do. We just had this conversation and sure enough, the ball comes at me. He just bailed."
The boyfriend, named Bo, wound up retrieving the ball, but he had one of the oldest excuses in the book as to why he lost flight of the ball.
"The ball was coming up and I was going to catch it and it was in the lights and I lost track of it," he said.
Sarah was standing -- or, in this case, sitting -- by her man, even if she had a bruise to show for it.
Astros call up reliever Melancon
HOUSTON -- Right-hander Mark Melancon, acquired by the Astros from the Yankees in the Lance Berkman trade on July 31, was recalled from Triple-A Round Rock on Monday afternoon and arrived in Houston in time for the game against the Braves.
Melancon, who wears No. 54, made two appearances for the Yankees this year, allowing four earned runs in four innings. He spent most of the year at Triple-A, going 7-1 with a 3.41 ERA in 43 combined games between Scranton/Wilkes-Barre and Round Rock.
The 25-year-old, who throws in the mid-90s, will be used exclusively in relief in a role yet to be determined.
"We're going to have to see," manager Brad Mills said. "We'll give him some innings here and there to see where he is and how he's going to fit in. To give him an inning in a big part of the ballgame is not fair to him unless we have to. I've seen him throw three or four times against us when he was with the Yankees, and he's got a good arm. It's exciting to have another real, strong arm."
Wright sent down to Round Rock
HOUSTON -- Two days after giving up seven runs in 2 1/3 innings in his fourth start of the season, left-hander Wesley Wright was informed Monday he was being optioned back to Triple-A Round Rock to make room on the roster for right-hander Mark Melancon.
Wright, 25, was 1-2 with a 6.28 ERA in 10 games for the Astros this year, but had worked exclusively as a starter since being recalled from Triple-A on July 20. He made four starts, including a sharp outing Aug. 1 when he held Milwaukee to four hits and two runs in seven innings.
"We've seen flashes from Wesley," manager Brad Mills said. "We know he can do that, but not being able to build upon that during yesterday's start, we want to be able to get him in a position where we want him to be more consistent how he throws the ball. We know it's in there.
"We like him. He's a left-hander that throws 90 mph with good stuff and we need to get more consistency. Many times I've talked about Bud [Norris] pitching and how he's been able to stop innings when things started to go poorly, and the last few times out, Bud has been able to do that. That's one of the things we talked to Wesley about today when we sent him out."
Wright has been moved between Round Rock and the Astros 11 times since the start of the 2009 season.
Figueroa gets a shot to start Saturday
HOUSTON -- When the Astros picked up Nelson Figueroa off waivers on July 21, he told manager Brad Mills he'd be happy to pitch in any role, though he preferred to start. He'll get that chance Saturday when he faces the Pirates, taking Wesley Wright's spot in the rotation.
"It's another opportunity to go out there and try to win a ballgame," Figueroa said. "I enjoy starting and when I first go here, I discussed it with Brad and that if I had a preference it would be as a starter, and now I'm getting the opportunity and I'm going to make the most of it."
Figueroa, claimed off waivers from the Phillies, made a spot start for Philadelphia in place of current Astros teammate J.A. Happ on April 24 at Arizona, allowing five hits and two earned runs in five innings to get a win while throwing 100 pitches. He's 11-24 with a 4.93 ERA in 50 career starts.
Even though he hasn't been stretched out nearly that long in any of his relief appearances this year, he's capable of pitching deep into a game.
"It's not going to be one of those 35-, 40-pitch limit things," he said. "I'm going to pitch and depending on how we're doing in the game and how well I'm keeping us in the game, I'll continue to go out there and keep putting up zeroes.
Figueroa will throw in the bullpen Tuesday in an effort to let pitching coach Brad Arnsberg get a better idea of his stuff.
"Coming out of the bullpen in the situations I've been in with runners on base, those pitches I wouldn't throw in the normal situation as a starter, I would throw some of my other pitches [as a reliever]," he said. "I'm going to work on some stuff and be ready for Saturday. I'm excited."
Manager Brad Mills said he would have no problem giving Carlos Lee more time at first base the rest of the season. Lee played three innings at first Sunday in Milwaukee after playing one inning there last year, which was his first at the position since 1999. "With the way he played yesterday, we could start him over there," Mills said. "I wouldn't be opposed to that." ... Pitcher Brian Moehler, who was in Philadelphia on Monday to seek a second opinion on his groin injury, said Monday he hasn't decided yet if he'll pursue surgery or try a non-surgical rehab. ... Rookie third baseman Chris Johnson, who leads the National League in hitting in the second half of the season, was moved up a notch to sixth in the order after batting primarily seventh, but don't expect him in the middle of the order soon. "We're going to continue to let him grow and get experience where he's comfortable," Mills said.
Brian McTaggart is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.