CINCINNATI -- Astros right-handed reliever Rhiner Cruz had his right ankle heavily taped on Saturday.

"It's an ankle issue, something he just kind of tweaked," manager Brad Mills said. "Last night he warmed up, but couldn't get it loose." Mills said the ankle wasn't sprained.

Cruz, who is 1-0 with a 2.08 ERA in seven appearances, has had three appearances lasting more than an inning. He hasn't appeared in a game since Monday, when he tossed 1 2/3 scoreless innings in Milwaukee.

Cruz was expected to throw prior to Saturday's game to test the ankle, which Mills said he initially injured during pregame warmups last week.

Lyles with team, expected to start on Sunday

CINCINNATI -- Astros right-hander Jordan Lyles arrived at Great American Ball Park on Saturday morning with what he believes is an improved curveball, but without his cleats and glove. "I left my baseball bag in Oklahoma City," Lyles said. "I'm scrounging around for stuff. I'll just borrow some cleats and a glove and I'll be alright."

Lyles is expected to be recalled from Triple-A to start Sunday's game against the Reds. He went 4-0 with a 3.46 ERA in four starts at Oklahoma City, striking out 24 batters in 26 innings, with only four walks. He's currently tied for the Pacific Coast League lead in wins.

"Everything's going well. They have a good lineup down there ... and my job is just to get them back into the dugout as quickly as I can," Lyles said. "We know they're going to put up some runs."

The Astros will make a corresponding roster move prior to Sunday's game.

Despite the 24 strikeouts, Lyles doesn't consider himself to be a strikeout pitcher. Control has been the key for him, with two of Lyles' four walks coming in his last outing. "Control's been pretty good," he said.

Lyles went 2-8 with a 5.36 ERA in 20 appearances for Houston last year. The missing piece for Lyles? Command of his curveball.

"In Spring Training, that's the pitch I wanted to work on, and I'm definitely doing a good job throwing it as much as I can," he said. "In my last four starts, it's been coming along pretty nice. It's definitely made strides."

Lyles has worked closely with Triple-A pitching coach Burt Hooton. And the results are apparent in Lyle's statistics.

"My velocity's been up a little bit since I've been down, and the curveball's made strides," Lyles said. "I think that was the pitch that was holding me back last year. I didn't really have good command of it or good trust in it. Now I do."

Lee expected to sit out remainder of Reds' series

CINCINNATI -- Astros first baseman Carlos Lee is not expected to play in the final two games of the series against the Reds. Lee sprained his left ankle in the first inning on Friday, and was still sore on Saturday, though X-rays taken on Friday were negative.

"It's going to be hard for him to get in tomorrow's game, with it being a day game," Houston manager Brad Mills said. "The weather doesn't help. When it's cold like this, it's hard to get it loose."

Lee will receive treatment on the ankle on Saturday. Mills said Lee could return on Monday, but was not ruling anything out at this point, including the disabled list. "We'll see where he's at," Mills said.

The injury comes at an inopportune time for Lee, who has a four-game hitting streak. Lee has batted .462 with two RBIs on the current road trip, and is hitting .273 with two homers and 13 RBIs overall for the season.

Worth noting

• Jordan Schafer has starred with his bat and glove lately. The Astros center fielder, who made a couple of nice catches in Friday night's win over Cincinnati, has reached base in all 20 games this season, the longest stretch to start a season since Ricky Gutierrez reached in 23 straight in 1998. The club record is 25 games, and is held by Denis Menke.

• Former Astros star Richard Hidalgo will throw out the ceremonial first pitch prior to Monday night's game against the Mets. He will also sign autographs at Minute Maid Park prior to the game. As part of the Astros' 50th Anniversary celebration, several former players are scheduled to throw out ceremonial first pitches this season.