WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. -- Astros All-Star third baseman Alex Bregman is expected to return to the lineup Friday against the Cardinals after leaving Wednesday’s 11-5 win over the Marlins at Ballpark of the Palm Beaches with back stiffness.
Astros manager AJ Hinch said Bregman reported stiffness in his back after his at-bat in the first inning and was removed from the game. Bregman had surgery on Jan. 11 to remove bone chips from his right elbow and was playing in only his third game of the spring.
“He sort of begged and pleaded to stay in the game, but I took him out,” Hinch said. “He won’t play [Thursday], but he’ll be in there the next day, I think. He sent a text to the dugout in the middle of the game that he was ready to go for [Thursday]. That made me feel better, but I’m still not going to play him.”
Meanwhile, Astros catcher Robinson Chirinos, who left the game in the fifth inning when he was hit on the left elbow by a pitch, is unharmed, Hinch said. Chirinos homered in the third inning.
“He had a good day and swung the bat well and got beat up left and right,” he said. “He took four or five balls off his body, a couple of balls in the dirt and got smoke in the elbow. He should be fine. He’s a catcher, but that was a tough day.”