The Runner Sports

Half Dozen Rehabbing Astros Barnstorming Through Texas And Pacific Coast Leagues

With the target date of late August to early September, a small army of formerly walking-wounded Houston Astros are set to rejoin the American League Western Division leaders. But first, two of Houston’s minor league affiliates, and their fans, are reaping the benefits of an influx of major leaguers on their respective rosters.

Tuesday, August 22, four Astros began their rehab stints in the Texas League, at Double-A Corpus Christi: relief pitchers Will Harris (right shoulder inflammation), Tony Sipp (right calf soreness) and Michael Feliz (right shoulder discomfort), and catcher Evan Gattis, who’s recovering from a concussion.

Lefty Sipp started Tuesday’s game against the Midland RockHounds (Oakland A’s affiliate), going one inning walking one and striking out two. Harris picked up the second inning, flawlessly, while striking out one. Feliz tossed the third inning, and had success, with his one walk and one strikeout, picking up the hold in the eventual 5-1 Hooks win.

Gattis had three plate appearances, walking twice and scoring once while throwing out a runner trying to steal.

Gattis was the designated hitter Wednesday for the Hooks, striking out twice in 4 ABs in the Hooks’ 8-4 loss. Feliz and Sipp aren’t expected back until September.

By Friday, five Astros will be rehabbing with the Triple-A Fresno Grizzlies of the Pacific Coast League: Carlos Correa, Lance McCullers, Jr., Harris, Feliz, and Sipp.

McCullers, out with back discomfort since July 31, started Friday at home for Fresno, and was followed by Sipp and Harris out of the bullpen. McCullers pitched 3 innings in Fresno’s 7-3 loss to Tacoma, and gave up 3 hits, 3 ERs, while walking 5 and striking out one. I suppose results aren’t quite as important, here, as his back felt during and after the game. Sipp pitched a clean 4th inning, and Harris got rocked a bit in the 5th, yielding 2 hits, 2 earned runs, and 1 walk, while whiffing one.

McCullers will make at least two rehab starts, Hinch said, Wednesday. Harris will be activated Saturday, as long as his Friday outing goes well, and his shoulder responds positively.

These rehab assignments were also planned for Corpus Christi, but the Gulf Coast of Texas is under a hurricane warning, with the impending approach of Hurricane Harvey, due to make landfall this weekend. Gattis, not scheduled to make the Fresno trip, may return to Houston.

Hinch said Wednesday that Correa’s rehab assignment is mapped out for at least a week with Fresno. Correa was in Fresno’s lineup, Thursday, at shortstop (for most of the game), wearing a snappy team alter-ego Fresno Tacos uniform for Oreo Taco Night. He went 1-for-3, batting second, with 2 RBI in Fresno’s 10-1 win over Tacoma. Correa has been out some five weeks after undergoing left thumb ligament surgery, and has been successfully taking full batting practice and fielding drills since early in the week.

Also, catcher Brian McCann, who’s been out since Aug. 14 with a right knee issue, came off the DL Thursday, starting against the Washington Nationals. He didn’t require a rehab assignment.

To illustrate how the team misses these key players, this stat, collected through games of Tuesday, August 22: The Astros have lost 13 of 20 games this month—only the Mets (6-15), Phillies (6-15), and White Sox (7-14) have been worse.

“It’s August, and there’s a lot of teams that are beat up,” Hinch said. “I’ll be happy when we’re healthy and we stop talking about it.”

Related: Make sure you’re up-to-date for Players Weekend, coming up this weekend, with The Stories Behind the Astros’ Nicknames, featuring a photo of the jerseys the Astros will wear!

Brad Kyle

Brad Kyle

Brad Ramone with (L-R) Dee Dee, Johnny, and Joey Ramone, backstage at Houston's Liberty Hall, July, 1977.

Johnny, the Ramones' influential guitarist, who passed away in 2004 at 55, was an avid baseball and New York Yankees fan since childhood. He even once ranked baseball above rock'n'roll in a personal Top 10 List!

Like Johnny, my love for rock is only equaled by my love for baseball and my hometown Houston Astros, present and past!

At TRS, you'll get full Astros coverage, minor league peeks, player profiles, interviews, MLB historical perspective, and maybe a little rock'n'roll!
Brad Kyle