BAL@HOU: Villar traps a grounder, makes strong throw

MINNEAPOLIS -- Marwin Gonzalez started at shortstop for the third game in a row Friday night in place of Jonathan Villar, who remains day to day with a bruised right elbow. He was hit on the elbow by a pitch on Tuesday.

Astros manager Bo Porter was hoping to put Villar through full drills prior to Friday's game with hopes he could perhaps have him return to the lineup Saturday.

"Hopefully he's able to do everything today," Porter said. "It was limited yesterday. It' still a still a little bit swollen. I want to see him go through a full day of work and make sure he's not going to have any setbacks. Today is his first attempt at a full day of work."

Villar was held out of drills Wednesday and threw a little bit and did some light swinging in the batting cage on Thursday. Asked just where the pitch struck Villar, Porter said, "It hit him on the funny bone, but it wasn't funny."

Worth noting

Right-hander Jesse Crain, who continues to rehab from October biceps tendinitis surgery, made his first road trip with the club this weekend, returning to Minnesota. He played with the Twins from 2004-10. Crain has thrown twice in the bullpen, and the next step towards his recovery will be a simulated game.