Astros’ Happ leaves exhibition with muscle strain

Starting pitcher J.A. Happ left the Houston Astros’ 9-6 victory

at Triple-A Oklahoma City on Tuesday night after straining a muscle

on his right side.

Happ, who allowed two runs and four hits in three innings, said

he still hopes to start Sunday against Roy Oswalt and

Philadelphia.

”I’m sort of delirious with frustration,” said Happ, who was

acquired from the Phillies in the Oswalt deal in July. ”I’m trying

to stay optimistic. Right now I’m taking the approach to see how it

feels tomorrow.”

Happ said he felt the strain while he was warming up before the

third inning. He pitched through some tightness in the third, when

he retired the RedHawks in order for the only time.

The left-hander finished the exhibition season with a 3-1 record

and a 4.09 ERA.

”I wasn’t pushing it too hard in the third,” Happ said. ”It’s

probably good that I came out.”

Astros manager Brad Mills said he was hoping Happ could throw at

least six innings.

”It wasn’t so drastic that he couldn’t throw,” Mills said of

the injury. ”We’ll see tomorrow and go from there. He was OK to

throw and that gives you a little optimism.”

The temperature was 49 degrees when the game started, but Happ

said the weather was not a factor.

”Hopefully I’ll wake up tomorrow and things are good,” he

said. ”We’ll see. I think I can go out there (Sunday) and throw

100 pitches if everything is feeling fine. That’s the plan.”