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Notes: Revolving door at third base

Notes: Revolving door at third base
Ensberg could continue to split time at the hot corner
By Alyson Footer / MLB.com


HOUSTON -- Morgan Ensberg was considered the incumbent third baseman all the way through Spring Training and Opening Day, but lately, that position has become somewhat of a revolving door.
Since the beginning of the series in Pittsburgh on April 24, Ensberg has started three times at third, Mike Lamb twice and Mark Loretta twice.

Manager Phil Garner didn't come out and say it, but it's likely he'll continue to shuffle the starters at that position. The reason? Offense, of course.

Ensberg hit .247 in the first month of the season and has logged only one hit in his last seven games. He's the best option defensively at third base, but Loretta (.375) and Lamb (.360) are far superior offensively.

Lamb started Tuesday's opener with the Reds, but there's no telling who may get the nod for the remainder of the series.

"Just [looking for] something," Garner said. "Offense. Something for the lineup to work a little bit. Maybe [Lamb] does it. We've had different lineups. The whole time that we've had this little rough stretch, nothing's worked."

Lamb, who made an error that led to two Reds runs in the first frame on Tuesday, has been hoping for more starting opportunities this year.

"I would love to play more," he said. "I've got to do what I'm told, basically. I don't have a say in it. Even if I did go in there whining about playing time, I don't know what good that would do. Whichever way [Garner] feels would give the team the best chance to win on any given game day, I feel is what he should do. I would hope that includes me, but if it doesn't, that's OK."

Jennings update: Jason Jennings will throw his fourth bullpen session on Wednesday as he nears the one-month mark since his last start.

Jennings, who made two starts before going on the disabled list on April 9, will work on his breaking pitches. If all goes well, he'll probably throw a simulated game sometime this weekend while the team is in St. Louis.

"If that goes well, I'll maybe do another one," he said. "And if that goes well, maybe rehab. I don't know."

Jennings would prefer not to go on a Minor League rehab assignment when he's ready to appear in games, but he understands that's the way the team is probably leaning.

"It's not my personality," he said. "I'm ready to get back out there. I didn't come over here to sit on the bench and cheer. I want to get back out there and help this team. That would be the only frustrating part.

"I understand their wanting me to do rehab. We haven't really gotten that far yet, we haven't talked about it a lot. We'll discuss it when the time comes."

"You don't want setbacks," Garner said. "You take a month to make the arm right and you miss it by a week because a guy goes down and does a rehab, then good, if you don't have any more setbacks."

White healing: Rick White was brimming with enthusiasm after he threw 35 pitches off the mound on Tuesday without any pain.

"I threw all my pitches, no pain, no discomfort," White said. "I threw everything at full speed."

White, who has been on the disabled list since April 24 with a strain on his left side, hopes to throw in a simulated game soon, perhaps as early as Thursday.

White is eligible to come off the DL on May 9.

Gone golfing: The Astros in Action Foundation raised significant funds at the second annual Tommy Bahama Island Cowboy Classic golf tournament on Monday at the Palmer Golf Course at the Woodlands Country Club. The final tally will be announced at a later time.

Monday was also Garner's 58th birthday, but that wasn't enough to propel his group to a tournament win.

"My fivesome should have won," he said. "I think we're going to have the counting procedure checked on Chad Qualls, because he beat us by 11 strokes. I was a little embarrassed turning in the strokes we turned in. I don't know how he did it. We miscast him. Perhaps he should be a hitter."

Programming note:The broadcast of the Astros-Reds game on Thursday, May 3, has been moved from FSN Houston to KNWS Ch. 51 at 7:05 PM CT.

The changes are being made to accommodate FSN Houston televising Game 6 of the Houston Rockets-Utah Jazz NBA first-round playoff series from Utah on Thursday, May 3, at 7 p.m. CT. The game will start at 8 p.m. CT if the Dallas-Golden State series ends Tuesday.

Coming up: The Astros and Reds will meet again at Minute Maid Park on Wednesday night, beginning at 7:05 p.m. CT. Right-hander Roy Oswalt (3-2, 3.43) will face Reds righty Kyle Lohse (1-1, 2.88).

Alyson Footer is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.
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