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J.A. Happ's Sunday Start Still Not A Sure Thing, Barmes Could Be Back Sooner

An injury update from Brian McTaggart of MLB.com brings some good news and bad news. The good news is that Astros shortstop Clint Barmes, who broke a bone in his hand after getting hit by a pitch, may come back sooner than originally thought.

The timetable when Barmes hit the DL was set for around 4-6 weeks, but the Astros doctors are pleased with the grip strength that Barmes has shown thus far and think he may be able to return in 3-4 weeks. Any news that will get Angel Sanchez onto the bench rather in the starting lineup is likely good news for the Astros.

The not-so-good news? Despite earlier reports saying that J.A. Happ planned to make his scheduled start on Sunday, it turns out that until he throws a bullpen session on Friday, the Astros won’t know for sure if he’ll make the start or not. Because it’s early in the season, the Astros may be able to reorganize their rotation to give Happ a few extra days if needed.

Such a move would likely bump Bud Norris up to the Sunday start, and with a day off Monday, the Astros could skip his turn entirely if need be. That would set him up to pitch the home opener against the Florida Marlins on April 8th.

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