Zobrist remains a question mark for Astros series

Zobrist remains a question mark for Astros series

ANAHEIM -- Ben Zobrist, out since Sunday with a sore left knee, was brought into Thursday's series finale against the Angels as a pinch-hitter in the ninth inning, but he remains iffy to start Friday's series opener against the visiting Astros.

Zobrist, who flied out in left-field foul territory to end the game, a 2-0 loss, is "getting better every day," he said, but the knee "doesn't feel 100 percent" three days after he received a cortisone shot.

Even manager Bob Melvin was reluctant to use the multipurpose player.

"I didn't want to leave him in my pocket, so if we had the tying run up in the ninth, we were going to use him," said Melvin. "I was a little nervous sending him up there. I don't want him hitting the ball in the gap, now he's got to run, and it could set him back. Hopefully, he'll be that much better tomorrow."

Zobrist ran up to about 80 percent before the game, but purely straightforward, without any cuts. He did, however, do some side-to-side movement while taking ground balls, and he also participated in batting practice, encouraged by the way he felt.

Zobrist will have a better idea of his potential availability for Friday's game in the morning.

"I don't know yet what their plan is for what we need to do pregame to get that clearance, but the big thing is, how is it going to feel when I get up?" Zobrist said. "If I get up and it feels about the same it's felt the last couple days, then there's a good chance, maybe. If it feels sore, we may need to evaluate as the day goes on."

Jane Lee is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, Major Lee-ague, and follow her on Twitter @JaneMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.