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Astros Activate Caminiti


After nearly three months on the disabled list, Ken Caminiti was activated Monday by the Houston Astros.

The third baseman, who had a strained right calf, went 7-for-20 in a six-game rehabilitation assignment with Triple-A New Orleans. He started Monday night's game again Milwaukee.

"The calf is great, everything else hurts," Caminiti said. "The calf gets a little sore about the fourth or fifth inning, but I can run on it. I think it's healthy enough not to cramp up."

Caminiti, the 1996 National League MVP, was hitting .292 with two homers and 17 RBIs in 36 games with the Astros this season. He went on the disabled list on May 21.

"Sitting is not my nature," he said. "I went away at the right time, when they were doing good. I came back at the right time, with them in a little rut right now."

Houston had lost five of six going into Monday's series opener.

"I am cautiously optimistic but only one week in New Orleans is like taking six weeks of spring training and condensing it into a week," Astros general manager Gerry Hunsicker said. "We've got to understand he's had a limited rehab and we're going to proceed very cautiously."

While Caminiti plays himself into shape, Bill Spiers will still get some playing time at third base.

"I know my role on this team so I don't get the least bit concerned," Spiers said. "I will find a way to contribute."

Caminiti is known for his gutsy and acrobatic play at third base but Hunsicker hopes fans don't expect him to be in top form right away.

"I'm sure a lot of people have high expectations and they are unrealistic," Hunsicker said. "I do think if he can stay healthy, he'll be a key addition for us over the next six weeks."

Caminiti definitely will add a spark.

"Everyone has really missed Camy because he's really a gamer," pitcher Scott Elarton said. "He's not always 100 percent but he always give 110 percent."

To make room for Caminiti, the Astros optioned infielder Russ Johnson back to New Orleans.

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