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Stassi likely to miss spring games with sports hernia

Acquired in Lowrie deal, young Astros catcher to visit specialist in Philadelphia

KISSIMMEE, Fla. -- Astros catcher Max Stassi, one of three players acquired in the Feb. 4 trade that sent Jed Lowrie to Oakland, will soon head to Philadelphia to see a specialist about a possible sports hernia. Stassi said the injury likely means he won't play in a game this spring.

Stassi has been dealing with issues to his left oblique for more than a year, and says it's time to get it cleared up.

"It's been nagging and some days it's worse than others and I'm going to get it cleared up, and if it's as mild as they think it is, I'll be ready a couple of games after Opening Day," Stassi said. "It's tough coming over here with the opportunity that is presented and joining a new organization. I've got to take care of my body and I've got to get ready for the regular season and go out and play hard."

Stassi, 22, was acquired to help increase the Astros' depth at catcher in the Minor Leagues, which has been lacking. Drafted by Oakland in the fourth round in 2009, he's a career .246 hitter with 30 homers and 123 RBIs in 239 career Minor League games. He spent the last two years at Class A Stockton.

"It's something I've been dealing with for a year and a half and I've played through it, and we think it's been leading to the oblique injury and the instability in the hip region," Stassi said. "So we're going to get it looked at and get the answers and move forward from there."

Meanwhile, right-hander Hector Ambriz, who sprained an ankle about 10 days ago, has thrown in the bullpen without any pain and should throw live batting practice in the next day or so. That would be his final step before getting into games.