DENVER -- Ty Wigginton did an admirable job filling in for Carlos Lee when he had season-ending surgery on his broken finger, but now someone is going to have to step in for Wigginton, who strained his left groin running to first base on Saturday.
At this point, there is no timetable for a return, but manager Cecil Cooper surmised it could take eight or 10 days, maybe longer, before Wigginton is back on the field.
"I don't know," Cooper said. "We'll have to wait and see. Groins are difficult."
In his first at-bat, Wigginton, leading off, knocked a soft grounder just under the glove of Rockies pitcher Jeff Francis and ran at full speed, lengthening his steps as he neared the bag.
Wigginton said he felt the strain when he was about halfway down the line.
"Once I started to feel it, I just tried to lengthen my stride and get to the bag and still be able to beat it," he said.
Wigginton was thrown out by a hair and limped off the field with head athletic trainer Dave Labossiere at his side. Cooper immediately pointed to Darin Erstad, who assumed Wigginton's spot in left field.
The 30-year-old Wigginton has been the Astros' best hitter for a solid month. He hit 12 home runs in August, tying Jeff Bagwell for the most in that month in club history. Entering Saturday's contest, he had homered in five of his previous nine games, while also driving in 12 runs in his last 10.
"That takes a lot out of our offense there when you don't have him in there, particularly against left-handed pitching," Cooper said. "I thought Reggie [Abercrombie] swung the bat well tonight. [Mark Loretta] swung well. Hopefully, they'll step up a little bit and continue to put some runs up."
Wigginton sounded confident he would be back in the near future, but others who have been through groin injuries had a more sobering take.
"He did pretty much the same thing I did a long time ago," said Roy Oswalt, who had surgery to remove a torn sheath near his groin in 2003. "When you pull your groin, you can't run. You can't really do anything. Hopefully we'll see how he looks after two weeks, but it's going to be a little while."
Alyson Footer is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.