Within this Notebook we read that Backe may need as many as two more rehab starts.
At first glance, you get the idea that they just want to get Backe healthy before he rejoins the rotation. Easy Eddie was at Backe's last start Wednesday, and Coop had this to say:
Wade “said (Backe) pitched fine. They had a big lead late in the game, and he thinks he just ran out of gas in the seventh inning. They said he pitched fine, located well and looked real sharp.”
So why not activate him? Maybe because they want to give it ten more days to see if Moehler or Paulino struggle. Cooper did address pushing Backe to the bullpen in Geary's spot, but decided starting is what Backe needed to focus on.
The Astros are going to have some tough decisions to make once Backe has made his schedule 20 rehab starts waiting for someone else to get hurt. Are they keeping him in rehab starts to enhance trade value? Or just hedging their rotation bets...