Astros targeting Sunday for Correa's debut

Shortstop dealing with lingering neck strain, but feeling much better

March 30th, 2019

ST. PETERSBURG -- The Astros are targeting Sunday's series finale against the Rays for the season debut of All-Star shortstop , who was out of the lineup for the second game in a row Friday because of a neck strain suffered a week ago.

Correa said he felt much improved Friday and went through pregame drills with the team prior to the Astros' 4-2 loss to the Rays. He stopped short of swinging the bat, which is what is affecting his neck the most. He said he will swing the bat and work out with the team again Saturday, with hopes to finally play Sunday.

“Today is the best I’ve felt ever since the injury happened,” Correa said. “I made great progress through the day today. I’m really close to being back out there. We’re excited. It’s a good step forward, the way I woke up today.”

Astros manager AJ Hinch said Correa will have to do a full workout before he writes his name into the lineup for the first time.

“He is feeling better,” Hinch said. “For me, I think it’s going to be hard to put him back into the lineup until he has a full work day, and hopefully that’s [Saturday], which makes Sunday more likely. I will wait a day too long, rather than a day too short.”

Correa injured his neck last Friday during a Spring Training game when he tumbled after tagging out Michael Conforto of the Mets in a rundown. The injury ended a terrific spring for Correa, who was hampered in the second half of last season with a back strain but appeared to be 100 percent healthy.

“This is frustrating that I spent the whole offseason getting my body right and just an awkward fall sets me back a couple of games in the regular season,” Correa said. “At the same time, it’s a long season and it’s nothing major. We’re just focusing right now and getting back to 100 percent healthy and go out there and perform.”