Reliever Pedro Strop (lower back strain) threw 20 pitches in a simulated game against Steve Pearce and Alexi Casilla on Tuesday in Houston. He felt no pain, felt his pitches were crisp and will fly to Sarasota, Fla., on Wednesday and pitch one inning in an extended spring game on Thursday. If all goes well, he'll join the Orioles on Friday in Tampa and be activated Saturday.
He said he worked on compacting his delivery, which he said has given his pitches more life and does not bother his back.
"Nobody wants to get hurt," Strop said. "But the situation, if you got hurt, don't just sit around, 'Oh I'm hurt.' If you are able to do some stuff and work on the things you need, it's good."
Norfolk right-hander Jair Jurrjens is dealing with a right thumb injury — carpal metacarpal synovitis — in which the joint capsule in his thumb is inflamed. Showalter said Jurrjens could miss a start. He left Sunday's game with the injury after allowing six runs in 2 2/3 innings.
Lefty Wei-Yin Chen (strained oblique) threw 25 times at 60 to 75 feet in the first step of a throwing progression Tuesday. Showalter said Chen felt no pain and will do it again Wednesday.
Designated hitter-infielder Wilson Betemit (right knee) took batting practice in the cage against coaches Tuesday in Sarasota. It's the first time he has done that since suffering the injury in March. There is no set timetable for his return.
Brian Roberts (hamstring) also hit in the cage in Sarasota on Tuesday. There's no set timetable for his return.
Around the horn
Showalter is considering moving Jason Hammel up to Thursday's start in Houston so he can stay on four days of rest after an abbreviated outing — in which he was ejected — on Saturday. Miguel Gonzalez would then pitch Friday in Tampa. … The Astros wore special patches on their uniforms Tuesday and held a moment of silence for the four members of the Houston Fire Department who were killed fighting a recent blaze. Flags were at half mast and a bagbipe version of "Amazing Grace" was played before the game. … Veteran right-hander Jon Rauch has joined Triple-A Norfolk. Catcher Jose Gil was released to make room for Rauch. … Double-A Bowie right-hander Tom Boleska was placed on the voluntary retired list. The Baysox added right-handers Tyler Wilson and Marcel Prado.