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Fowler taken to hospital with stomach virus

HOUSTON -- Dexter Fowler, the Astros' hottest hitter, missed Friday night's game against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim with a stomach virus and is doubtful for Saturday.

Fowler was taken to a Houston hospital Friday evening. Manager Bo Porter said after the 11-1 loss to the Angels that there was no update on Fowler, but planned to visit him on his way home from the ballpark.

Fowler hit .500 in Houston's first three games against the New York Yankees. Batting leadoff, Fowler hit two doubles, a triple and a home run and scored five runs.

Alex Presley, who started the last two games in right field for the Astros, replaced Fowler in center field and hit in Fowler's leadoff spot in the Houston lineup. He went 1-for-5 with a single and three strikeouts in Friday's loss.

"He's got a stomach bug," Porter said of Fowler. "I don't know if it was something he ate. It's not cooperating with his body. Obviously he played well these first three games."

Houston acquired Fowler in the offseason in a trade with the Colorado Rockies. The Astros picked up Presley in a trade with the Pirates near the end of last season.

Presley hit .283 last year in 28 games for Minnesota and .264 in 29 games for Pittsburgh.

"I'm used to it," Presley said of leading off. "It's not odd for me. I spent the majority of my big league career hitting leadoff. I did it last spring."

Presley didn't know he was going to start in center until he arrived at Minute Maid Park Friday afternoon.

"We all need to get sick if that's the case," Presley said of Fowler's sizzling start. "You have to be ready for any situation when you come in."

Presley said he felt comfortable right away at Minute Maid Park.

"I have a little experience here as a visiting player," Presley said. "You can see the ball really well." Porter expressed confidence in Presley.

"He's swung the bat well, he's played defense, he's done a good job so far," Porter said. "That's part of the reason we went out and acquired him, so we'd have another guy who had a lot of experience playing center field."

Presley grew up in Monroe, La., and will have some family in town over the weekend to see him in his new uniform.

Gene Duffey is a contributor to
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