JUPITER, Fla. -- After getting a pair of at-bats in his first Grapefruit League game of the season on Monday night, Astros outfielder Preston Tucker was optioned to Minor League camp on Tuesday. The move leaves Houston with 33 players in camp, though the 25-man roster is all but set.Tucker,
JUPITER, Fla. -- After getting a pair of at-bats in his first Grapefruit League game of the season on Monday night, Astros outfielder Preston Tucker was optioned to Minor League camp on Tuesday. The move leaves Houston with 33 players in camp, though the 25-man roster is all but set.
Tucker, who had surgery Sept. 21 on his right shoulder, had been playing in Minor League games on the back fields for about a week before starting in right field Monday and playing five innings. He's recovering from a procedure to repair the acromion, a bony projection on the shoulder blade.
"He hasn't played competitively in a while given how much time he missed last year," Astros manager A.J. Hinch said. "We're a tough team to crack. This is no different than it is for [Tyler] White or [AJ] Reed or [Colin] Moran. We're just a very, very difficult team to crack as a position player with the veterans we added and the core that stayed healthy, and he needs to work his way back into consideration as a left-handed bat.
"He's got a ton of potential to come up and hit off the bench or play depending on how the roster is constructed, similar to how he did in 2015. Two thousand sixteen was pretty much a lost season for him, and now he's going to go down and get some at-bats and get playing."
Tucker was on the Astros' Opening Day roster last year before being optioned to Triple-A Fresno in mid-May after batting just .176. He returned in July, but he couldn't find a rhythm at the plate. He was placed on the disabled list in August with a strained right shoulder, and he never made it through a rehab outing a few weeks later.
Tucker hit .243 with 13 homers and 33 RBIs in 98 games as a rookie in 2015.
The only roster decision looming for Houston is the final bullpen spot, which is between James Hoyt and Jandel Gustave. Several other players who are still in camp have been told they're not going to make the club: outfielder Derek Fisher, infielders Reid Brignac and J.D. Davis, catcher Juan Centeno and pitchers Dayan Diaz. Right-handers Collin McHugh and David Paulino will start the year on the disabled list because of a bone bruise.
Brian McTaggart has covered the Astros since 2004, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter and listen to his podcast.