Jason Michaels looking forward to fresh start

HOUSTON -- Astros outfielder Jason Michaels stepped onto the field for pre-game activities Friday night with a strong sense of rejuvenation and a redefined hunger for the 2011 regular season after being activated from the 15-day disabled list due to a subluxation of his left shoulder, which occurred while diving for a triple off the bat of Brewers slugger Prince Fielder on April 24.

The 35-year-old Michaels told Examiner.com that he's 100 percent healthy and doesn't expect his left shoulder to be a lingering issue.

He was pleased with the results of his five-game minor league rehab assignment at Triple-A Oklahoma City, especially recording 22 plate appearances while hitting .300 (6-for-20) with two RBI and two doubles.

"I got a chance to go down there for five games and get 22 plate appearances," Michaels said. "I feel great. I had several good at-bats. I wanted to go down there, see the ball and have good at-bats. I was able to put some consistent at-bats together.

"Plus, my body feels great."

Manager Brad Mills, who has a tremendous amount of respect for Michaels, couldn't ask for more regarding the mentality and approach to the entire situation demonstrated by the veteran outfielder upon being placed on the 15-day disabled list.

"As soon as we put him on the DL, he showed his veteran approach," Mills said. "He came to me right away and said, 'I want to make sure I go on a rehab assignment. I want to get some at-bats, so when I come back, I am ready.' We were all in on that.

"We want him ready and to perform the best he can in his role."

Michaels will be called upon for an occasional spot start over the course of the season as the club's No. 4 outfielder, but it's his job to be a productive right-handed hitting option off the bench, as well as a solid defensive replacement in the late innings.

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