ANAHEIM -- The Astros have ruled out shortstop Carlos Correa for the final four games of the regular season this weekend against the Angels because of his recurring back issues, but the American League West champions are hopeful he can return for Game 1 of the AL Division Series, manager AJ Hinch said Thursday.
Hinch said Correa, who sat out Tuesday and Wednesday after his back stiffened up on him on a flight from Houston to Seattle on Monday, saw a doctor Thursday in Los Angeles, and it was determined Correa would need extra rest.
“Given that he’s been off for a couple of days, we could need a full day of baseball activity anyway,” Hinch said. “That’s pushed to tomorrow, and then if there’s any sort of movement or activity over the weekend, it doesn’t look like we’re going have enough time to get him a lot of game action.”
Correa’s availability for Game 1 of the ALDS, which begins Oct. 4 in Houston, will depend on how he responds to the team’s workouts next Wednesday and Thursday at Minute Maid Park.
“That’s going to be what we’re going to judge him on, but we expect him to be in the lineup next Friday,” Hinch said.
Hinch didn’t say whether there was a further diagnosis of what Correa is going through other than back stiffness, and Correa wasn’t available to the media prior to Thursday’s game at Angel Stadium.
With Correa out, Alex Bregman will likely get most of the reps at shortstop, with Aledmys Diaz and Abraham Toro at third base. Correa, who was hampered by a sore back the second half of last year, said Tuesday his latest back ailment isn’t as serious as the one that put him on the injured list from Aug. 20-Sept. 17.
Correa, who had looked free and easy since returning from the IL, is hitting .279 with 21 homers and 59 RBIs this year, and he hit two home runs on Friday against the Angels. Correa missed 50 games from May 27-July 21 after he broke a rib while getting a massage at his home.
“We saw him come out of this with one [Minor League] rehab game and hit two home runs,” Hinch said. “He’s an excellent player. He’s a former All-Star. He’ll be just fine when we get him back there.”
Sanchez eyeing 2020
Veteran right-hander Aaron Sanchez, who threw six innings of no-hit ball in the Astros' combined no-hitter in his first appearance with the club following a July 31 trade from the Blue Jays, rejoined the club in Anaheim on Thursday. He said he underwent surgery Sept. 10 to repair a capsule tear in his right shoulder.
The Astros said previously Sanchez would be out into the 2020 season, but his future with the club is very much up in the air. The Astros could choose to non-tender him a contract this winter, making him a free agent. That being said, Sanchez is glad the injury wasn’t worse and he was able to resolve what was hampering him.
“For me, it’s unfortunate and it sucks, but at least I know I’m healthy and back to being normal,” Sanchez said. “It’s one of those things as an athlete where you don’t feel right and wondering if things are going on or not, and to go in there and for [the surgeon] to find something wrong and find something that wasn’t right and is fixed now, is mind-easing.
"It’s going to be a long road for the rehab part, but there’s other pitchers in the league that have done the same thing and had surgery from the same [doctor] that are doing pretty well. That gives me hope.”
Among the group that had the same procedure performed by Dr. Neal ElAttrache are Giants catcher Stephen Vogt, Dodgers lefty Julio Urias and A’s lefty Sean Manaea. Sanchez said he talked to Urias at length about the recovery process.
“He eased my mind the most through it all,” Sanchez said.
Sanchez, an All-Star with Toronto in 2016, went 5-14 in 27 combined starts between the Astros and Blue Jays this year. He started four games for the Astros following the trade, posting a 4.82 ERA in 18 2/3 innings.