HOUSTON -- Astros left fielder J.D. Martinez was out of the starting lineup for the third game in a row Tuesday while he nurses a sore right shoulder, manager Brad Mills said.
Newly acquired Ben Francisco started in left field against the Reds for the second day in row after Justin Maxwell had started in left field Sunday in Arizona. Mills said Martinez slightly injured the shoulder crashing into the wall in Arizona last weekend.
"When he hit the wall in Arizona, he kind of tweaked it a little bit, and that same game he had to make a lot of throws," Mills said. "He's going to come out and try to play catch [Tuesday] and see how he feels. He was OK to hit, but to play defense and throw was kind of questionable. We're hoping today would be the last day we'd have to give him the day off."
Martinez leads the club with 50 RBIs and has reached base safely in his last six games, posting a .429 on-base percentage since July 17. He had a bloop single as a pinch-hitter in Monday's 8-3 loss to the Reds and is 2-for-6 as a pinch-hitter this year.
Altuve Astros' rep for Heart and Hustle Award
HOUSTON -- All-Star second baseman Jose Altuve was honored before Tuesday's game against the Reds as the Astros' representative for the 2012 Heart and Hustle Award, which is presented to active players who demonstrate a passion for the game and best embody the values, spirit and tradition of the game.
As the season draws to a close, fans, all Major League Baseball alumni and active players will vote to select the final winner from the 30 team winners. The final winner will be announced Nov. 13.
The award was presented by former Astros slugger and general manager Bob Watson, who played 14 seasons in Houston. He was a two-time All-Star and the first African-American general manager in baseball history with the Astros in 1993.
The previous overall winners are Craig Biggio (2006, '07), Grady Sizemore ('08), Albert Pujols ('09), Roy Halladay ('10), and Torii Hunter ('11).
Catcher Jason Castro continues to progress and will do flexing exercises to rest the discomfort in his right knee that forced him to the disabled list on July 8. Castro needs to be able to squat and move side to side and block balls before he can worry about hitting, manager Brad Mills said.
In an effort to enhance the fan experience at Minute Maid Park, the Astros have added a new Twitter handle. @astrosassist is now live for fans to utilize for questions or problems they may have at Minute Maid Park. Astros team representatives are available to handle fans' questions.