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Correa happy with his progress after surgery

MLB.com @brianmctaggart

HOUSTON -- Four weeks removed from surgery to repair a ligament in his left thumb, All-Star shortstop Carlos Correa has made so much progress that he's performing all of his usual baseball activities, with the exception of hitting pitched balls.

On Wednesday, Correa fielded ground balls, took throws at second base from the catcher, turned double plays and hit balls flipped to him from coaches in the batting cage.

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HOUSTON -- Four weeks removed from surgery to repair a ligament in his left thumb, All-Star shortstop Carlos Correa has made so much progress that he's performing all of his usual baseball activities, with the exception of hitting pitched balls.

On Wednesday, Correa fielded ground balls, took throws at second base from the catcher, turned double plays and hit balls flipped to him from coaches in the batting cage.

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"No discomfort at all," Correa said. "I'm really happy about that."

Correa will eventually start hitting against a pitching machine and then taking batting practice, which will be the final step before he's sent on a Minor League rehab assignment. There's no firm timetable, but he's expected to be activated before the end of the month if there are no setbacks.

"I'm doing everything I do in a regular practice," Correa said. "I'm not hitting BP yet or off a machine like I'd like to do, but we're progressing toward that, and everything has turned out great so far. I'm really happy with the outcome."

Not playing has been tough on Correa, but he understands that rehab must progress in increments, no matter how good he feels.

"You don't want any setbacks, so I'm going to give them the feedback of how my thumb feels and let them know if there's some discomfort, but I've been feeling so great that I feel like we can push a little more, but be careful about it, be smart about it," he said.

Correa injured the thumb swinging the bat in a July 17 game against the Mariners and had surgery two days later. He was having an MVP-caliber season, hitting .320 with 18 doubles, 20 home runs and 67 RBIs in 84 games. Before getting injured, he was second in the American League in RBIs, tied for second in multihit games (33), third in WAR (4.8), fifth in batting average, fifth in OPS (.966) and fifth in runs scored (64).

Entering Wednesday, the Astros had lost 15 of 26 games without him in the lineup.

"Being in the dugout and trying to cheer up the guys and stuff and not being able to contribute physically is tough, and that's what I like to do -- be there for my teammates and be able to contribute somewhere," he said. "Right now I'm being a cheerleader and the guy that talks to them and makes sure they have a good plan."

Brian McTaggart has covered the Astros since 2004, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter.

Houston Astros, Carlos Correa