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Astros optimistic Bregman will avoid IL

Third baseman will be re-evaluated when team arrives in Seattle
@RichardJustice
April 11, 2019

HOUSTON -- Third baseman Alex Bregman was out of the Astros' lineup as expected on Wednesday because of a sore right hamstring, and an MRI offered what amounts to good news even though it’s unclear when he’ll return to the lineup. “I got good news,” Bregman said, “but I have

HOUSTON -- Third baseman Alex Bregman was out of the Astros' lineup as expected on Wednesday because of a sore right hamstring, and an MRI offered what amounts to good news even though it’s unclear when he’ll return to the lineup.

“I got good news,” Bregman said, “but I have no clue when I’ll play. It’s going to be one of those things where we make sure it’s 100 percent just because it’s April 10th.”

Bregman knows to be careful with that particular ailment, having missed 11 games in September 2016, a few weeks after he’d made his Major League debut.

“They just said it’s not as bad as it was in 2016,” he said.

Bregman sustained the injury on Tuesday while running the bases against the Yankees. He took several hours of treatment and tentatively will travel with the team to Seattle on Thursday.

“We think it’s very minor,” manager AJ Hinch said. “We’ll evaluate him when we get to Seattle. It’s one of those injuries where we feel very good about it after the news from the doctor. We don’t really know what it means. We’ll see what happens in Seattle.”

After watching the Astros collect 16 hits -- including a pair of Jose Altuve home runs -- in an 8-6 victory over the Yankees on Wednesday, Bregman noted that the club’s veterans had cautioned him not to return until healthy and not risk missing more time.

“Jose said, 'I’m going to hit two homers a game until you get back,’” Bregman said.

Hinch started his first baseman, Yuli Gurriel, at third against the Yankees on Wednesday, with utility man Aledmys Díaz getting the start at first. Gurriel played third regularly in his native Cuba, and Wednesday was his 39th start at the hot corner for the Astros.

Bregman felt something in his leg on Tuesday while running to first base after a strikeout and passed ball. He summoned the team’s medical staff moments later while running to second.

“I wish he would have come off [the field] before if it bothered him, when he ran to first after the strikeout,” Hinch said. “Luckily, he got smart after the next play and decided he needed to let us know.

“We don’t want to risk weeks of the season when we can hopefully avoid it. It’s dangerous to stay on the field when you’re not healthy. But athletes are trained to push and go as far as they can until they can’t."

Bregman has been the Astros' best player the past two seasons. He started this season 1-for-15, but since then, he has recorded a hit in eight straight games with a .500 batting average and a .600 OBP.

This comes after a 2018 season in which he was voted the Most Valuable Player in the All-Star Game and finished fifth in American League MVP Award balloting. This spring, he signed a five-year, $100 million contract extension that runs through the '24 season.

Richard Justice has been a reporter for MLB.com since 2011. Read his columns, listen to his podcast and follow him on Twitter at @RichardJustice.