HOUSTON -- The road back to good health will take Brandon Lyon longer than the 15 days he'll have initially on the disabled list, but the closer said Tuesday he was already feeling better after having a cortisone shot in his ailing right shoulder.
Lyon was placed on the 15-day disabled list May 5 with biceps tendinitis and a partial tear of his right rotator cuff after blowing his fourth save of the season. In 12 games this year, he's allowed 21 hits and 22 earned runs in 11 1/3 innings.
"I'm doing OK," Lyon said. "I'm able to functionally move my arm, and I haven't been able to do that in the last couple of weeks. Just getting a cortisone shot helps me stretch it out a little bit, and it feels a lot looser. It doesn't feel as tight and feels like I have built up some strength.
"It's going to take time, and when I feel like it's time for me to start throwing and I'm strong enough to start throwing, that will be the time. We haven't put a time frame on it. Even in the last couple of days when I haven't thrown, I can totally tell a difference."
Lyon, who converted 20 of 22 save chances last year, is confident he can return to form by taking a non-surgical route to heal the shoulder.
"I'm ready confident, especially after talking to the doctors and knowing how weak my shoulder was after testing its strength," he said. "I feel like if I can get my strength back, that's going to help us out a lot. I feel like I've been throwing with a weak shoulder for a little while and wasn't getting the results I needed to get and wasn't getting better. I felt it was time to back it down and get my shoulder stronger for the rest of the season."
Dream comes true for Astros' Escalona
HOUSTON -- The dream has come true for Astros pitcher Sergio Escalona.
Escalona -- recalled from Triple-A Oklahoma City following Monday's game when Nelson Figueroa was designated for assignment -- joined the Astros' bullpen on Tuesday, just days after he had a dream about getting another shot in the big leagues.
"It was crazy, because I dreamed about it the night before I was called up," he said. "In the dream, I said, 'Oh, come on, make it real.'"
The addition of Escalona gives Astros manager Brad Mills the luxury having two left-handers in the bullpen, joining Fernando Abad. Escalona took over as closer at Triple-A when Jose Valdez was called up to Houston and was 1-0 with a 3.38 ERA in 13 games this year.
Escalona, 26, appeared in 14 Major League games with the Phillies in 2009 and spent all of 2010 at Double-A before the Astros traded for him prior to the 2011 season. Escalona admitted he got content after he made his Major League debut.
"I was lazy," he said. "I was thinking about myself. That was my [peak] and that was it. I gained so much weight, like 20 pounds. It's almost like I closed the door for myself, and I was working so hard this year and everything worked in the beginning. I don't know why all of a sudden in Spring Training I didn't do that great, but when the season started, I started doing better and better. Thank God everything worked out. I'm just excited right now."
Escalona will wear No. 52 and not the No. 44 -- Roy Oswalt's former number -- he donned in Spring Training, a move that will appease Astros fans.
"I don't care about numbers," he said. "I care that I'm in the big leagues right now."
Bourgeois gets injection in strained left oblique
HOUSTON -- Astros outfielder Jason Bourgeois, who's on the disabled list with a strained left oblique, had a plasma replacement therapy injection into his sore side on Tuesday during a visit with team medical director David Lintner.
The treatment consists of doctors taking a small vial of Bourgeois' blood and spinning it in a centrifuge to remove platelet-rich plasma. The plasma is then injected into the site of the injury.
"It was real quick and simple and didn't hurt a bit," Bourgeois said. "Hopefully it can help out."
Bourgeois, who was having a career year before getting hurt, said he's progressing each day.
"Still, quick movements are sore," he said. "The main thing is going to be running. I think I might be able to get away with a swing, but jumping back and forth and agility, that will be the hardest."
Bourgeois got a call recently from fellow Major Leaguer and Houston native Laynce Nix, who was drafted with Bourgeois by the Texas Rangers in 2000.
"He told me to take it easy," Bourgeois said. "He said, 'Whatever you do, don't move.' He told me by next week I'm going to be hitting in the cage and thinking I'm ready, and I'm going to step out on the field and take a swing like I was in a game -- a 110-percent swing -- and it's going to hurt big time."
Astros general manager Ed Wade said outfielder Jason Michaels would likely be activated Friday. Michaels is on the 15-day disabled list while recovering from a left shoulder subluxation and has been on Minor League rehab at Triple-A Oklahoma City.
Veteran infielder Jeff Keppinger, who's been out since having foot surgery in January, could begin his Minor League rehab assignment as early as Friday. Keppinger's rehab could run a maximum of 20 days, but he should return earlier if manager Brad Mills is pleased with his progress.
The Astros on Tuesday signed former Rangers catcher Max Ramirez to a Minor League deal and assigned him to Triple-A Oklahoma City, which has a catching shortage with Carlos Corporan out with a broken finger. Ramirez, who was released by the Cubs on Friday, hit .217 with four homers and 17 RBIs with the Rangers in 2008 and 2010.
Brian McTaggart is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.