HOU@MIN: Springer launches solo homer to center

PHOENIX -- The Astros scratched outfielder George Springer from the lineup due to right knee soreness before Monday's game against the D-backs at Chase Field. 

The team announced that Springer is day to day with the injury.

Alex Presley took Springer's place in right field, and fellow rookie Jon Singleton moved to No. 3 in the order to replace the 24-year-old outfielder.

Presley went 0-for-3 in his place in the Astros' 4-3 win on Monday.

After the game, manager Bo Porter said he took Springer out to allow him to get treatment on the knee, which has been bothering him. He said whether or not Springer plays against the D-backs on Tuesday will depend on how Springer feels after receiving treatment Monday.

"He was able to get treatment all day today, and we'll come here tomorrow and see how he feels and go from there," Porter said.

Springer has been one of the Astros' best hitters this season. He is currently batting .251, but has a .843 on-base plus slugging mark. He has 12 homers and 35 RBIs through the first 47 games of his career.

Springer was named the American League's Rookie of the Month for May after hitting .294 with 10 home runs.

Sipp makes unusual appearance in outfield

HOU@ARI: Sipp gets placed in outfield during eighth

PHOENIX -- Manager Bo Porter came out of the dugout to relieve pitcher Tony Sipp in the eighth inning of the Astros' 4-3 win on Monday, but instead of sending him back to the dugout, Porter handed Sipp an outfielder's glove and sent him to right field.

"I talked to him when he first came here, and I've watched him shag fly balls," manager Bo Porter said.

"I made sure he had his outfield glove on the bench so he was ready to go."

After reliever Jerome Williams walked first baseman Paul Goldschmidt, Porter brought Sipp back in from the outfield and put him back on the mound to face D-backs catcher Miguel Montero.

He then struck out Montero before Porter relieved him for good, bringing in Kyle Farnsworth.

Porter said part of the reason he moved Sipp back and forth from the outfield to the mound was so he could stay away from long reliever Rudy Owens.

"The last thing you want to do is bring your long guy into the game in the eighth inning," Porter said. "Let's just say we keep the lead and then they end up tying it in the ninth. Now you don't have a long guy. At that point, you go with the short guys that you have."

Sipp had never played a Major League inning at any position other than pitcher, but he did play outfield while he attended Clemson University and played in left field for part of one game for Triple-A El Paso this season.

"I played that in college, Clemson. But I thought those days were behind me," Sipp said. "Anything can happen coming over, playing in the National League."

Porter hesitant to anoint Qualls as closer

HOU@MIN: Qualls induces flyout, notches save

PHOENIX -- Manager Bo Porter doesn't like the term "closer."

Chad Qualls leads the team in saves with seven and is who fans will likely see when the Astros have a small lead in the ninth inning, but he isn't the club's "closer" if you ask Porter.

"We have a lead in the ninth, Chad Qualls will get the ball," Porter said.

But Porter prefers the term "highest-leverage relief pitcher," as suggested by a reporter. The skipper added that he'd rather manage his bullpen on a game-by-game basis.

"You can technically say, 'Well, this is the ninth-inning guy, this is the eighth-inning guy,'" Porter said. "And because he's the eighth-inning guy, you bring the eighth-inning guy in the game, and now he faces three righties. They go boom-boom-boom, and you're sitting on the bus and you're like, 'Now how exactly did that happen?'"

Asked why other managers don't do the same, Porter said, "I manage the Astros."

Seventh, eighth or ninth inning, Qualls has succeeded in every situation Porter has put him in. In his 11 ninth-inning appearances, he has a 2.45 ERA. In the eighth inning, he has been even better, pitching 8 2/3 innings and giving up two runs -- a 2.08 ERA.

Qualls is in the midst of the best season of his career, as he owns a 2.18 ERA in 23 appearances. His previous best (2.61) came last season with the Marlins.

Qualls also has career-best numbers in WHIP (1.065), strikeouts per nine innings (9.6) and fielding independent pitching (2.16).

"He's done a tremendous job," Porter said. "You look, his velocity is back, his sinker is better than ever and he's pitching with a lot of confidence."

Astros staying grounded amid hot stretch

HOU@MIN: Altuve dives to rob Santana of a hit

PHOENIX -- The Astros have been playing their best baseball recently, winning five of their last eight series and splitting two others, but they aren't letting the hot streak get to them.

"[We're going to] try to keep doing what we're doing," second baseman Jose Altuve said. "Playing hard every day, giving 100 percent."

Altuve has been one of the hottest hitters on the team during this stretch. The All-Star second baseman has notched a hit in 21 of his last 23 games and is batting .339 (37-for-109) over the last 28 days.

Two of the younger Astros making the biggest splash of late have been the pair of rookie hitters, George Springer and Jon Singleton.

After struggling to start his career, Springer was named the American League Rookie of the Month after hitting .294 with 10 home runs in May.

Singleton, who was called up more recently, has also dealt with his share of Major League adjustments. He's hitting only .200 (5-for-25) with a pair of home runs through his first six games.

But on Sunday against the Twins, he and teammate Chris Carter hit a pair of grand slams, becoming the first Astros teammates since 1969 to each hit grand slams in the same game.

"Springer and Singleton, they're really good guys," Altuve said. "They have not too much time here, but they're showing people what they can do … They're going to be really good."

Although they've been rolling of late, pitcher Brad Peacock, who will get the ball against the D-backs in the second of two games this week at Chase Field, said the team's hot play doesn't affect him on the mound.

"The starters try to follow up on one another and try to compete with each other," Peacock said. "But I'm just going to try to go out there and locate pitches and do my job."

Slugging second-rounder Reed, Astros agree on deal

Draft 2014: Astros draft 1B A.J. Reed No. 42

HOUSTON -- A.J. Reed, the burly slugger who's a finalist for the Golden Spikes Award as the college national player of the year, has reached an agreement on a contract with the Astros, he told MLB.com on Monday. He was taken with the first pick of the second round (42nd overall).

Reed, a 6-foot-4, 240-pound left-hander, was a two-way star at Kentucky as a pitcher and a hitter, but Houston drafted him as a hitter. He said he'll be in Houston on Wednesday to sign his deal and take a physical. The club has not confirmed the deal

"I'm excited," he told MLB.com. "I'm glad the whole process is over and I'm excited to get out here and start over."

Reed led the nation in homers (23), slugging (.735) and on-base plus slugging percentage (1.211), while ranking as the Southeastern Conference leader, and fourth in the NCAA, in pitching victories (12). Reed hit .336 with 18 doubles, one triple, 73 RBIs, 49 walks and a .476 on-base percentage while posting a 2.09 ERA as the Wildcats' Friday night starter.

"I'm ready to play that full year," he said. "The past couple of summers, I didn't really hit that much, just kind of pitched. I'm ready to see what it's like playing that 60-game college season and player another 70, 80 games in the summer and fall. I'm anxious to see how I respond to that and what it takes to do that."

Reed was asked if he would miss pitching.

"I don't know if that's something I can tell right now," he said. "I'm excited that I finally can focus on one area."

In his storied three-year career, Reed had a .306 average in 172 games, with 35 doubles, three triples, 40 homers and 168 RBIs, with a .559 slugging percentage and a .415 OBP. On the mound, Reed -- a first-team All-America selection -- had a 19-13 record with a 2.83 ERA in 248 innings, allowing just 53 walks and striking out 174.

MLB.com previously reported the Astros had agreed to terms with ninth-round pick Bryan Radziewski, a left-handed pitcher from the University of Miami, eighth-round pick Bobby Boyd, a center fielder from West Virginia University, and 10th-round pick Jay Gause, a right-handed pitcher from Faulkner University in Alabama.

Astros' sixth-round pick Brock Dykxhoorn, a right-handed pitcher from Central Arizona College, said Saturday he had agreed to a signing bonus and was sorting out the final details of the contract.

Astros come to terms with third-round pick Davis

Draft 2014: Astros draft 3B J.D. Davis No. 75

HOUSTON -- The Astros have reached an agreement with third-round pick, Cal State-Fullerton two-way standout J.D. Davis. He was the first pick of the second day of the First-Year Player Draft, taken at No. 75 overall.

Davis will receive a bonus of $748,600, which is the assigned pick value for that selection. He will report to short-season Tri-City later this week. Davis was a hitter and pitcher in college, but will play third base in the Astros' system. The club has not confirmed the deal.

"I'm pretty excited," he told MLB.com. "I just can't believe it's finally here. I got drafted three years ago and it didn't work out, and now it's finally come true. I can't wait to get out there and be a part of the Astros organization."

Davis, a 6-foot-3, 215-pound right-hander, led Fullerton with a batting average of .338, a slugging percentage of .523 and an on-base percentage of .419. He also led the team with 53 strikeouts and 32 walks.

"J.D. Davis was one of our favorite players in the draft this year," scouting director Mike Elias said the day he was drafted. "He's one of the best power bats available in the top three rounds of the draft. We love his swing. We think he can play third base."

In Fullerton's NCAA Tournament game against Nebraska, Davis hit a two-out, eighth-inning grand slam in a 5-1 victory. Fullerton was later eliminated by No. 1 seed Oklahoma State. Davis was named to the 2014 NCAA Stillwater Regional All-Tournament Team as the designated hitter.

MLB.com previously reported the Astros had agreed to terms with ninth-round pick Bryan Radziewski, a left-handed pitcher from the University of Miami, eighth-round pick Bobby Boyd, a center fielder from West Virginia University, and 10th-round pick Jay Gause, a right-handed pitcher from Faulkner University in Alabama.

Astros' sixth-round pick Brock Dykxhoorn, a right-handed pitcher from Central Arizona College, said Saturday he had agreed to a signing bonus and was sorting out the final details of the contract.

Astros, ninth-round pick Radziewski agree to deal

2014 Draft: MLB.com looks at the Astros' picks

HOUSTON -- The Astros have agreed to terms with ninth-round Draft pick Bryan Radziewski, a left-handed pitcher from the University of Miami. Radziewski told MLB.com on Monday he was headed to short-season Tri-City later this week.

The club has not confirmed the deal.

Radziewski could be joined in Tri-City by college teammate Alex Hernandez, a second baseman from Miami taken in the 40th round, who has also agreed to terms. Hernandez is waiting to find out where he will be sent.

Radziewski, 5-foot-10, 195 pounds, was 8-2 for the Hurricanes this season with an ERA of 2.86. Radziewski struck out 111 batters with 49 walks, and he was named to the Louisville Slugger All-America second team and the Rawlings All-America third team.

Radziewski originally was drafted by the Cardinals in the 29th round in 2013 after going 9-3 with an ERA of 1.78 in 14 starts. Radziewski is from Miami and went to Florida Christian High School.

"Being away from home for the first time, you don't know what to expect," he said. "I'm excited to start my professional career."

MLB.com reported over the weekend that the Astros had agreed with eighth-round pick Bobby Boyd, a center fielder from West Virginia University, and 10th-round pick Jay Gause, a right-handed pitcher from Faulkner University in Alabama.

Sixth-round pick Brock Dykxhoorn, a right-handed pitcher from Central Arizona College, said on Saturday that he had agreed to a signing bonus and was sorting out the final details of the contract.

No. 1 overall pick Brady Aiken, a left-handed pitcher from the San Diego area, has agreed to a $6.5 million signing bonus and could have a contract done this week.