KISSIMMEE, Fla. -- Did Astros manager A.J. Hinch possibly reveal his Opening Day lineup Tuesday? For the first time this spring, the Astros had their regular starters at every position for a Grapefruit League game against the Braves, with Marwin Gonzalez occupying first base -- a position that remains up
KISSIMMEE, Fla. -- Did Astros manager A.J. Hinch possibly reveal his Opening Day lineup Tuesday? For the first time this spring, the Astros had their regular starters at every position for a Grapefruit League game against the Braves, with Marwin Gonzalez occupying first base -- a position that remains up for grabs with less than two weeks remaining prior to the season opener.
Whatever the case, it's likely Tuesday's lineup will at least be very similar to what the Astros will have when they face the Yankees on Opening Day on April 4: Jose Altuve (second base), George Springer (right field), Carlos Correa (shortstop), Colby Rasmus (left field), Carlos Gomez (center field), Luis Valbuena (third base), Gonzalez, Preston Tucker (designated hitter) and Jason Castro (catcher).
"This is a good lineup," Hinch said. "This is obviously one I've used before and one that I may use again. This is one of the first times we've had this group in particular together in one game. It's obviously a week away from breaking camp tomorrow. It's a lineup that I like."
Evan Gattis, who's six weeks removed from hernia surgery, would start at DH on Opening Day if he's healthy, but considering he's only taking at-bats in Minor League games and still not running above about 75 percent, he's likely to start the season on the DL.
Gonzalez isn't competing for the starting job at first, but he will get at-bats all over the infield and even left field this season, as he did last year. A.J. Reed, Tyler White, Jon Singleton and Matt Duffy are battling for the first-base spot, with White having the best spring at the plate.
"Marwin's going to play a lot," Hinch said. "There's a number of positions he's going to be active at, one of them being first base. He's played first base a couple of different times this spring and to get his at-bats, he's going to have to move around. The middle of our field is pretty packed, and so between first and third and spelling the guys in the middle -- I may throw him in left field again -- he can answer a lot of different questions. Marwin won't have to worry about getting his at-bats; he might just have to worry about what glove to take out there."
When asked about a platoon at first, Hinch said splitting playing time will be more about left-handed vs. right-handed.
"It depends on how guys are playing and what the best situation is and who makes our team," Hinch said. "We haven't decided the entire roster yet, so it's hard to call anything a platoon at this point. Luis is swinging the bat very well against some of the tougher lefties in Spring Training, so maybe he sees more time there. Rasmus handled lefties a little bit, some of our righties handle righties. Platoon is sort of an ugly word for a guaranteed role versus an opposite-handed pitcher -- I'm not into that."
Relief pitcher Luke Gregerson, who's recovering from a mild oblique strain, is scheduled to throw in his second Minor League game on Wednesday, along with starter Doug Fister and relief pitcher Josh Fields. Lefty Tony Sipp was scheduled to throw in a Minor League game Tuesday.
Hinch said Gregerson is still on track for Opening Day.
"He's focused more on sides and his throwing program, and we want to be very cautious not to irritate the oblique," Hinch said. "That's the game plan behind his schedule. He's got time to get five or six outings in before the season starts, including those games back at Minute Maid [against the Brewers on March 31 and April 1]."
Brian McTaggart is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, Tag's Lines. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter and listen to his podcast.