HOUSTON -- Perhaps the most important aspect of Jason Michaels' recently completed Minor League rehab was that he was able to play in five games and get 20 at-bats, which is two more at-bats than he had with the Astros prior to getting hurt May 24.
Michaels, who was activated Thursday after having a partial separation of his left shoulder, went 6-for-20 with Triple-A Oklahoma City, and he said upon rejoining the Astros on Friday that his shoulder was fine.
He was the designated hitter for two games and then played in the outfield.
"Everything was good," he said. "It was fun to get out there and play and get some at-bats. I thought it saw some good pitching. The guys on the team were fun."
Michaels has struggled at the plate with the Astros following a hot spring. He's 2-for-11 as a starter and was 0-for-6 with a walk as a pinch-hitter entering Friday's game. He hopes the consistent at-bats in Triple-A will pay off with the Astros.
"I was able to work on some stuff and tweak some stuff, and get consistent pitches and make some adjustments," he said. "I'm confident and am going to go up and try to have good at-bats."
Barmes aims to reclaim second spot in order
HOUSTON -- The second spot in the batting order, which was handled by shortstop Angel Sanchez for the first 25 games of the season, has been a revolving door since Clint Barmes made his debut April 29 after breaking his hand in Spring Training.
Barmes was back in the No. 2 hole for Friday's series opener against the Mets, making him the fifth different player to hit in the second spot in the order in the past seven games. Jason Bourgeois was seeing a lot of time hitting second before he got injured, and J.R. Towles, Michael Bourn and Sanchez have all batted in that spot recently."It's going to be that way until we find someone," Astros manager Brad Mills said. "We'll keep tinkering, and before I settled on Barmes [on Friday], there was some tinkering."
Of course, hitting second in the Astros' order is a prime position, considering that player figures to see plenty of fastballs when speedster Bourn gets on base at the top of the order. Bourn entered Friday tied for the league lead in steals.
"He also needs to be able to handle the fastball and hit behind the runner, and handle the bat and do those things that we've been able to see Angel do so well," Mills said. "With Barmes, I have all the confidence in the world he'll be able to do that tonight and as we move forward."
Mills expresses optimism regarding ownership
HOUSTON -- Though the team's impending sale to a group led by Houston businessman Jim Crane doesn't appear as though it will have much of an immediate impact on the on-field operations, Astros manager Brad Mills is glad the team will remain in the hands of a local owner.
"Obviously, they want to own a ballclub and that's exciting, and I'm glad they're from this area and they want to be involved with the Houston community and this ballclub," Mills said. "I'm sure they want to have a good representation. That's always exciting."
Astros owner Drayton McLane told MLB.com on Friday that he had reached an agreement to sell the team to Crane's group, making Mills the sixth and final manager McLane hired during his 19 years as owner of the Astros. The deal is expected to be announced next week.
"I enjoy Drayton," Mills said. "Drayton has a passion for the ballclub and the organization and the city, and he shows that passion to us every day. It's nice these owners seem to be the same way. They have a passion for the city and the organization, and that's something I'm really excited about."
Mills said hasn't yet felt the need to discuss the upcoming sale with his players, though he said he might in the future.
Coach Biggio's HS team champions again
HOUSTON -- Astros legend Craig Biggio is certainly building quite a resume as a high school baseball coach.
St. Thomas High School, which has been coached by Biggio the past three seasons, won its second consecutive Texas Association of Private and Parochial School Class 5A state championship with a 4-3 win Friday over Dallas Bishop Lynch in Waco, Texas.
"I'm excited and elated for these kids," Biggio said. "That's something they're going to remember for the rest of their lives. I understand the importance of it at this level with the kids. We've got a couple of kids leaving to continue their dream of playing college baseball, but for most of them this is going to be it."
Biggio's youngest son, Cavan, a sophomore, broke a 3-3 tie with a homer in the fourth inning. Patrick Leonard hit a three-run homer in the first inning for St. Thomas, and coach Biggio singled out pitchers Michael Rodgers and Eric Jensen, who combined to complete the game.
The win was somewhat bittersweet for Biggio, because it marked the final time he will coach both of his sons while on the same team. His oldest son, Conor, is a senior and will be playing baseball at Notre Dame in the fall.
"Four years went quick," Biggio said. "Before you know it, it was over. And now he's going to college. It's been a fun four years, and obviously you hit an age where it's time to move on and go to college. I just can't believe it went by so fast."
St. Thomas finished the season 26-12.
A precautionary MRI performed Thursday on the right wrist of Astros third baseman Chris Johnson showed inflammation and a bone bruise, but no major damage. Johnson said the wrist had been bothering him for a couple of weeks.
Astros infielder Jeff Keppinger went 2-for-5 with an RBI and scored twice from second base Thursday night in his first game on his Minor League rehab assignment. Keppinger had surgery Jan. 14 to remove a bone in his foot and has been at extended Spring Training.
Brian McTaggart is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.