HOUSTON -- Astros owner Jim Crane said Tuesday the club has whittled its managerial search to three or four candidates and hopes to have the process wrapped up either later this week or early next week. The announcement of the hire will depend on whether the new manager is working for a postseason club.
"It will really depend on the selection we make, how quickly we announce that based upon where the teams are and the candidates we're talking to," Crane said. "If they're in the playoffs, we might have to wait until the playoffs are over."
Crane said the club has a good feeling about "a couple of candidates," but said the team is still checking backgrounds and references. He didn't rule out the idea of any remaining potential candidates having another interview with management.
"We got a very good look at a lot of different people and we learned a lot through the process," Crane said. "We think the group we have left, any one of them will be a good manager."
Among the candidates who have interviewed and are still in the hunt are Red Sox bench coach Tim Bogar, Rays bench coach Dave Martinez, Nationals third-base coach Bo Porter and Astros interim manager Tony DeFrancesco.
"I'm confident we're going to get a great manager," general manager Jeff Luhnow said. "There's a lot of excellent baseball people that are ready to help the organization. ... It's splitting hairs which one is better than the other. Really, it's about which one is a better fit for the organization at this point in time given where we're going."
All-Star recognized with Altuve Day in Houston
HOUSTON -- Houston mayor Annise Parker declared Tuesday "Jose Carlos Altuve Day" in recognition of Altuve's All-Star season. Altuve said he first found out about the proclamation on Tuesday morning.
"I've been working really hard in my career with the Houston Astros," Altuve said. "It's my second year and it's an honor for me that [they] named it Jose Altuve Day today."
Councilman James Rodriguez presented Altuve with the proclamation in a ceremony before Tuesday's game against the Cardinals. After outlining Altuve's career accomplishments in the document, the city expresses its gratitude.
"The City of Houston commends Jose Carlos Altuve on his impressive accomplishments with the Houston Astros and extends best wishes for continued success. Therefore, I, Annise D. Parker, Mayor of the City of Houston, hereby proclaim Sept. 25, 2012, as Jose Carlos Altuve Day in Houston, Texas."
After missing Monday's game with a minor groin injury, Altuve was back leading off for the Astros on Tuesday. He entered the game batting .291 with five homers, 35 RBIs and 33 stolen bases. His 49 multi-hit games rank ninth in the National League.
Moore has been a force in September
HOUSTON -- The versatile Scott Moore has put himself in good position to find a job on the free-agent market this winter, thanks in part to a red-hot September with the Astros. Moore, who spent the first 3 1/2 months at Triple-A Oklahoma City, entered Tuesday leading the Major Leagues with a .448 batting average and .543 on-base percentage during the month (minimum of 35 plate appearances).
"He's had a great week," said interim manager Tony DeFrancesco, who managed Moore at Oklahoma City this year. "I think Scott's versatility and his ability to drive the ball are good."
Moore entered Tuesday hitting .261 with nine homers and 25 RBIs, and had reached base in 17 of his last 30 plate appearances. He has played third base, first base, second base, right field and left field for the Astros this year.
"As far as numbers go, I haven't thought about that, but I think I'm showing my versatility," the former first-round pick by the Tigers said. "I hope that brings some value to help the team, and obviously I would love to come back here."
Astros working around injuries in rotation
HOUSTON -- The various minor injuries among the Astros' starting pitchers are starting to add up. That could lead to a few changes in the rotation for the final seven games of the season.
Astros interim manager Tony DeFrancesco said Fernando Abad, who strained his right oblique in Monday's game, probably won't make his next start.
Edgar Gonzalez strained his hamstring in Friday's game and threw a bullpen session on Tuesday. DeFrancesco said Gonzalez's availability for his next start -- scheduled to come on Friday in Milwaukee -- is up in the air.
Lucas Harrell, who has pitched a career-high 182 2/3 innings entering Tuesday's start, may not get another outing. Bud Norris, managing a blister problem and a skin irritation on his scalp, will start on Wednesday, but his availability for the final series in Chicago could be a question mark.
That leaves Jordan Lyles and Dallas Keuchel as the only totally healthy starters in the Astros' six-man rotation. The club will probably revert to a five-man rotation until the end of the season.
"We're kind of banged up right now, but we're just trying to piece together our starting rotation for the next five days," DeFrancesco said.
Fernando Rodriguez is the most likely candidate for a spot start. Rodriguez threw a career-high 72 pitches in 4 1/3 innings of emergency relief on Monday.
"He won't be available for a few days, but in five days, he could be one of the starters in Chicago," DeFrancesco said. "It's going to be day to day with the rotation. It's unfortunate, but September baseball just seems to get harder and harder right now."
The injuries aren't limited to the rotation. Third baseman Matt Dominguez has flu-like symptoms and wasn't at the ballpark on Tuesday. Infielder Marwin Gonzalez is day to day with a sprained left ankle.
Brian McTaggart is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, Tag's Lines. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter. Clark Goble is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.