HOUSTON -- After battling injuries to several key players for the past two months -- a group that includes Carlos Correa, Brian McCann, Lance McCullers, George Springer and Jose Altuve -- the Astros could hit September at full strength on offense.That's good news for an Astros team that on Monday
HOUSTON -- After battling injuries to several key players for the past two months -- a group that includes Carlos Correa, Brian McCann, Lance McCullers, George Springer and Jose Altuve -- the Astros could hit September at full strength on offense.
That's good news for an Astros team that on Monday had Springer, Altuve and Correa back in the starting lineup together for the first time since June 25. Each has battled various injuries the past two months.
Astros manager AJ Hinch said Monday that McCann, relief pitcher Chris Devenski and outfielder Jake Marisnick could all be activated by Saturday -- the first day rosters can be expanded to 40 players. That would leave McCullers (right elbow) as the only player remaining on the DL heading into September.
McCann, who homered on his Minor League rehab outing at Double-A Corpus Christi on Sunday night, will catch seven to nine innings on Monday and will be back in Houston on Tuesday. At that point, the club will determine whether he'll be activated in the coming days or wait until Saturday when rosters expand. McCann has been out since having knee surgery in early July to repair a torn meniscus.
"He's doing tremendously well," Hinch said. "I know he feels great. The homer to the pull side is good for him and gets him timed up for hopefully helping us soon."
Devenski, who's missed the entire month of August with left hamstring tightness, has had five Minor League rehab outings, the last three for Triple-A Fresno. He'll throw Thursday for Corpus Christi at Frisco in likely his final test.
Meanwhile, Marisnick has been on the DL since Aug. 11 with left groin discomfort and continues to rehab. He was scheduled to play Monday at Triple-A and would transition to Double-A on Wednesday and Thursday before being activated Saturday.
"We feel like we've weathered that storm of not having our guys every single day. But at the end of the day, you write in the guys that you feel that can help you when they're healthy and when they're right," Hinch said. "It's nice to write in the first four [Springer, Alex Bregman, Altuve and Correa], but more importantly than even that is the fact the guys who are sliding down in the order -- Marwin Gonzalez, Tyler White, Tony Kemp when he's in there -- those guys are performing, and now all of a sudden the bottom of your order looks great because the top of your order is in line."
Brian McTaggart has covered the Astros since 2004, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter and listen to his podcast.