HOUSTON -- The Astros made a move following Thursday's loss to the Cardinals that they hope will bolster their position behind the plate, purchasing the contract of switch-hitter Carlos Corporan from Triple-A Oklahoma City and optioning catcher Robinson Cancel to Oklahoma City.
Corporan, who recently returned to action after missing a month with a broken finger on his right hand, will join the club on Friday. The injury limited him to 22 games this year for the RedHawks, and he was hitting .250 with three homers and 12 RBIs.
"He will catch some, but we'll kind of see," manager Brad Mills said. "[J.R.] Towles has been getting beat up the last few days with foul tips and so forth, and we'll have to give him a couple of days [off] at some point."
Towles has been catching four out of five games since starter Humberto Quintero went on the DL on May 28 with a high ankle sprain. Quintero isn't expected to return to action for at least another week.
Corporan, who had a hit in his only Major League at-bat in 2009 with Milwaukee, was a non-roster invitee to Spring Training this year and hit .353 with four homers and 13 RBIs.
Pence enjoying every minute of streak
HOUSTON -- Right fielder Hunter Pence entered play on Thursday riding a career-high 19-game hitting streak, the longest current streak in the Major Leagues, and wasted no time extending it to 20, singling off Cardinals starter Lance Lynn in the first inning.
Pence, who's hitting .390 during in the streak with three homers and 14 RBIs, has no problem bucking years of baseball superstition and openly talking about the streak.
"It's fun," Pence said. "It's not that I don't know it's going on. I'm not superstitious. It's a hit streak, it's fun, and that's baseball. People like to follow those things. I want to keep it going as long as I can and enjoy the ride. It's not like I'm coming to the park to not get hits. I'm coming to hit."
Pence has come up huge in clutch situations this year. He entered Thursday hitting .395 with runners in scoring position, second in the National League. He was also hitting .375 with two outs and runners in scoring position and .386 when games were close late.
"I have complete focus every at-bat," he said. "That's one of the things, especially as I'm getting older, I'm working on diligently. I'm as prepared and as focused as I've ever been in my life. That's not going to change, whether I have a streak or not. I'm trying to do everything I can mentally to get this team in the playoffs."
Wandy returning to rotation on Monday
HOUSTON -- As expected, left-hander Wandy Rodriguez will rejoin the rotation on Monday for the series finale against Atlanta. Rodriguez has been on the disabled list since May 23 with effusion in his left elbow joint, which is essentially a buildup of fluid on the elbow.
Rodriguez allowed one earned run over four innings in a rehab start for Double-A Corpus Christi on Wednesday night at Midland, Texas, and rejoined the Astros on Thursday.
"I didn't feel anything," Rodriguez said. "I'm ready."
With Rodriguez set to rejoin the rotation, who's leaving? Rookie right-handers Aneury Rodriguez, who pitches on Friday, and Jordan Lyles, who pitches on Saturday in his home debut, are the two logical options to leave the rotation, but manager Brad Mills is noncommittal.
"We'll address that later," Mills said. "I don't think that needs to be taken care of right now."
Lyles, who was called up from Triple-A Oklahoma City when Rodriguez went on the shelf, is 0-1 with a 4.91 ERA in two starts. Aneury Rodriguez is a Rule 5 pick, which means that he would have to stay on the 25-man roster or be offered back to his former team, the Rays. Aneury could be moved to the bullpen if he doesn't stay in the rotation.
Players get perspective from hospital visit
HOUSTON -- Matt Downs, Chris Johnson, Angel Sanchez and Brett Wallace made a special visit to oncology patients at Texas Children's Hospital on Thursday morning, handing out teddy bears to the young patients and helping to decorate baseballs.
Johnson was thrilled to be able to brighten the kids' day and said that the trip puts baseball in perspective.
"It kind of makes you feel bad about stressing about playing a game and going 0-for-4 or something like that when you see kids who are dealing with a whole different issue," Johnson said. "It's hard."
Downs, whose wife, Leah, is expecting the couple's first child later this year, was glad to be able to put some smiles on the faces of ailing kids.
"To see these kids cheer up for a minute makes you feel good," Downs said. "It can get you down when you see it, but you have to stay positive and try to make them positive."
Bobby Heck, assistant general manager/director of scouting, announced on Thursday that the Astros have agreed to terms with five more Draft picks: right-hander Nick Tropiano (fifth round), center fielder Andrew Muren (22nd), first baseman Chase Davidson (41st), right-hander Blake Ford (44th) and outfielder Chris Epps (45nd). The Astros, who have signed seven of their drafted players, also announced the signing of University of Arizona catcher Jacob Meskin as a non-drafted free agent.
The Astros on Saturday will celebrate broadcaster Bill Brown's 25th season as their primary play-by-play TV announcer. Brown will be recognized on the field during a ceremony prior to the game against the Braves. Several of Brown's family members, including his wife, Dianne, and owner Drayton McLane will be a part of the ceremony. In addition, the first 10,000 fans will receive a "Brownie and J.D." bobblehead, featuring Brown and longtime broadcast partner and former Astros pitcher Jim Deshaies.
Brian McTaggart is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.