Notes: Bregman's rehab; Alvarez at 1B?

August 5th, 2021

LOS ANGELES -- Astros third baseman will need at least two more Minor League rehab games for Triple-A Sugar Land, general manager James Click said on Wednesday. The Skeeters, who were off on Wednesday, open a six-game series Thursday at Round Rock.

Bregman, who’s been out since he strained his left quad while running the bases on June 16, is officially 0-for-13 in five games with the Skeeters, though he hit a double before Tuesday’s game was called off because of rain. He went 1-for-2 in 3 1/3 innings Tuesday, starting at third base.

The lack of time on the base paths led the Astros to the decision to keep Bregman on rehab.

“The question will be, does he continue to look good?” Click said. “With the off-day [Wednesday], I would anticipate him going to Round Rock for at least a couple [games]. We just want to make sure his legs are completely underneath him, his timing’s back and hopefully that’s all we need to see. We’ll evaluate him in a couple of days.”

Bregman missed 17 games last year after straining his right hamstring while running the bases on Aug. 19 in Colorado. He strained his right hamstring in April 2019 and missed two games. In September 2016 -- at the end of his rookie year -- he missed two weeks after straining his hamstring running the bases.

Alvarez learning first base
In addition to Bregman, the Astros were without starting first baseman for the second game in a row Wednesday against the Dodgers while he deals with a stiff neck. With Gurriel out, started both games at first base (instead of third) and started at third, which isn’t ideal.

Astros manager Dusty Baker admitted Wednesday having slugger capable of playing first base, especially on days Gurriel isn’t available, would provide better roster flexibility. The Astros only started playing Alvarez in left field in the last couple of months after he began his career exclusively as a designated hitter.

“He’s been working out at first base, also, and I don’t think he’s quite ready,” Baker said. “With situations like this and Yuli having a stiff neck, this would be perfect for him to play first base. He’s not ready yet.”

Click said multi-positionality is highly valuable in the game right now, and Alvarez’s ability to play left field is proof of that.

“If we can add first base, that’s only upside,” he said. “It’s a position that sometimes gets less credit than maybe you would think. It’s a tricky position to play defensively. I think some people think you can just kind of throw guys at first base. I think Yuli has shown that’s far from the truth. We really want to have him out there when he’s comfortable, and not before.”