PHILADELPHIA -- Major League rosters can be expanded to 40 players on Sept. 1, but don't expect the Astros to have a flurry of callups from the Minor Leagues. General manager Ed Wade and manager Brad Mills spoke briefly on Monday about potential callups.
"I told him we'd get into more details the next couple of days," Wade said.
The Astros are already starting four rookies on most nights -- first baseman Brett Wallace, shortstop Angel Sanchez, third baseman Chris Johnson and catcher Jason Castro -- and considering they want to get a good look at the youngsters, there's not going to be a lot of available playing time.
"Fewer is better, unless they're going to play," Wade said. "Obviously, with the changes we've made and the fact so many younger players are here now that need to play to get the experience, it will probably be a very, very small number."
When asked if 19-year-old pitcher Jordan Lyles could be among the callups, Wade said: "I'm open-minded to everything at this point."
Oswalt still follows Astros, but loves Philly
PHILADELPHIA -- So far, Roy Oswalt has found everything he wanted and more since being traded last month to the Phillies, who are in the thick of another pennant race and play before sellout crowds each night at home.
"It's been good and the guys are fun," he said. "I'm excited. There are 45,000 people here every night, and that's just what I'm looking for."
Oswalt has picked up where he left off with the Astros, going 3-1 with a 2.43 ERA in five starts with Philadelphia. He threw seven scoreless innings on Sunday, meaning he'll be the only starting pitcher the Astros will miss in their four-game series against the Phillies.
"The first couple of starts were a little different, but it feels good," he said. "We feel like a team amongst the five [starters]. It's been a whole lot of fun."
Oswalt admits he glances at the scoreboard now and then to see what the Astros are doing, but considering there has been so much turnover on the roster the past few months, there aren't very many familiar faces remaining in Houston. For now, Oswalt is focused on catching the Braves in the National League East and returning to the playoffs for the first time since 2005.
"We need to catch Atlanta, and Atlanta won't quit winning," he said. "We have a series with them here and a series there, so we should have a chance to catch up in the division. We're looking pretty good in the Wild Card, but hopefully we can win the division."
Neck issue continues to keep Blum out
PHILADELPHIA -- Veteran infielder Geoff Blum was hoping to at least be able to pinch-hit during Monday's game against the Phillies. Blum has been dealing with a sore neck since diving for a ball against the Mets last week.
"It's slowly getting better, but it's not great," said Blum, who's hitting .304 on the road this season. "It's definitely a pain in the neck to play right now."
Blum doesn't feel much pain while hitting from either the left or right side of the plate, but throwing the ball is problematic. His past four starts have been at second base, including three in a row last week when Jeff Keppinger went down with a toe injury.
The injury comes at a bad time for Blum, who had hit safely in seven of his 13 games since being activated from the 15-day disabled list on Aug. 3. He was hitting .333 (7-for-21) in his five starts since his activation.
"It's extremely frustrating," he said. "I finally got in the groove and hit a home run, and something like this happens."
Astros extend deal with Double-A club
PHILADELPHIA -- The Astros and Ryan-Sanders Baseball on Monday announced a four-year extension of the player development contract (PDC) between the Astros and their Double-A affiliate, the Corpus Christi Hooks, which falls under the Nolan Ryan-Don Sanders baseball ownership group.
The current contract agreement between the Astros and Corpus Christi, which was through the 2012 season, has been extended through the 2016 season. The Hooks have been an affiliate since their inaugural season in 2005.
"Corpus Christi has been an integral part of our player development system since 2005, and the fan base that has grown in that area since then is just as important as the growth our players have had while at the Double-A level," assistant general manager/director of player development Ricky Bennett said. "We are excited about preserving our valued relationship with Ryan-Sanders Baseball and the city of Corpus Christi for the next six seasons."
The Astros' PDC with Triple-A Round Rock (also Ryan-Sanders owned) will expire at the end of the year, and the Astros will likely lose their affiliation in Round Rock to the Texas Rangers, who are partly owned by Ryan. Texas' current Triple-A affiliate is in Oklahoma City, but it will likely switch to the Astros next year.
"We're not optimistic we're going to be in Round Rock," Astros general manager Ed Wade said. "We'll wait and hope for the best, but I'm not optimistic it's going to work in our favor. We'd like to be in Round Rock forever, but we clearly understand Nolan's ownership involvement with the Rangers."
Right-hander Brian Moehler, on the disabled list since July 8 with a right groin strain, is scheduled to being his Minor League rehab on Tuesday at Triple-A Round Rock. ... Second baseman Jeff Keppinger, who's been out a week with a sprained toe, did a few baseball exercises on Monday. ... Yordany Ramirez, a former outfielder for the Astros who is making the transition to pitcher at Class A Lexington, made his pitching debut Friday and gave up two hits in one-third of an inning. He did throw seven pitches at 96 mph.
Brian McTaggart is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.