Here's what's going on as we head into the weekend...
*Dallas Keuchel tossed a baseball to a heckler with a special message. Click here for the original tweet.
*The Astros look as though they're holding on to Chad Qualls. Also in that link we get updates on Fowler (not close to returning), Albers (slow recovery) and Crain (surprise! slow recovery).
*Carlos Correa won't be ready to return from a broken leg for the Arizona Fall League, but the team hopes that he'll be ready for Spring Training. The Astros are also considering sending Rio Ruiz to the AFL, and also to Corpus.
*According to a Chronicle source, the MLBPA has filed a grievance against the Astros regarding their handling of the 2014 draft. No one is commenting on either side.
*SI's Ben Reiter has an in-depth piece on how the Astros lost Brady Aiken:
"A lot of people say they want to be a Hall of Famer," said another scout, "but I believe for this kid it's a realistic goal, to be one of the best pitchers of all time." The consensus was that Aiken could be pitching in the majors in just two and a half years - that is, as early as Opening Day of 2017.
*Mark Appel pitched last night, and lo, it was good. He threw 74 pitches in 6IP, 5H/2ER, 7K:0BB with a fastball that sat in the mid- to upper-90s. "I wasn't thinking about it, I wasn't really thinking about it at all. It was fun, it was, you know - I don't know. I'm not one to shy away from the frustrations of this season, but it's been a while since I had a game that was this fun."
*Aston Villa fan who visited 92 soccer grounds will be in Houston on Sunday to add to his MLB ballpark tour.
*Lance Berkman is returning to Rice as a student assistant.
*Happy Birthday, Billy Wagner, who somehow is only 43.