HOUSTON -- Amid all the talk surrounding the trade for ace right-hander Justin Verlander, the Astros welcomed another addition on Sunday who figures to make an even bigger impact in the final month of the season.All-Star shortstop Carlos Correa, who was having a season worthy of Most Valuable Player consideration
HOUSTON -- Amid all the talk surrounding the trade for ace right-hander Justin Verlander, the Astros welcomed another addition on Sunday who figures to make an even bigger impact in the final month of the season.
All-Star shortstop Carlos Correa, who was having a season worthy of Most Valuable Player consideration before tearing a ligament in his left thumb on July 17 and undergoing surgery, returned to the lineup in the 8-6 win over the Mets in the series finale at Minute Maid Park and went 1-for-3 with a run scored, an RBI and a walk.
"I felt like a child out there," Correa said. "It was so much fun. It was a game I love to play, and to be out for almost two months, it was super boring."
The Astros went 20-22 in the 42 games without Correa, who was hitting .320 with 18 doubles, 20 home runs and 67 RBIs in 84 games prior to the injury.
"I felt comfortable from the get-go," he said. "I had plenty of at-bats in the Minor Leagues in order for me to feel good, and I wasn't going to come up here if I wasn't feeling that good or confident up there. I went out there with confidence and tried to perform to the best of my abilities, and we were able to come up with the win."
Manager A.J. Hinch admitted that he was a tad nervous when Correa's glove, which is on his left hand, was briefly pinned between second base and a sliding Jose Reyes during a stolen-base attempt in the fifth inning.
"Like all of you, my heart stopped when the collision happened at second base and the tag," Hinch said. "That was a good hurdle to clear, believe it or not, just getting an awkward play that he couldn't control ... and gets his hand hit and comes out of it OK. We're happy to get him back. He's a big part of this team."
Correa plans to wear a protective pad on the thumb while he's running the bases, but otherwise he doesn't even think about it.
"It hasn't bothered me in weeks," Correa said. "There's nothing I've done in my house or at the ballpark [where] I felt some discomfort. I'm very happy about that."
Correa's return comes just two days before Verlander will make his debut for the Astros on Tuesday in Seattle and three days before Lance McCullers comes off the DL to start on Wednesday.
"As we start to get our team back together, there's a sense of energy that's reaffirmed on our team," Hinch said. "It started a few weeks back when [Dallas] Keuchel got back, and now we're going to get Correa back, now we've got Verlander and added [Cameron] Maybin. The arrow is pointing in the right direction when you get your better players back."
Brian McTaggart has covered the Astros since 2004, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter.