HOUSTON -- As many as three Astros players could play for Double-A Corpus Christi on Tuesday in a Minor League rehab outing. Relief pitchers Tony Sipp and Will Harris and catcher/designated hitter Evan Gattis are tentatively scheduled to play for the Hooks on Tuesday, though the Astros have not made
HOUSTON -- As many as three Astros players could play for Double-A Corpus Christi on Tuesday in a Minor League rehab outing. Relief pitchers Tony Sipp and Will Harris and catcher/designated hitter Evan Gattis are tentatively scheduled to play for the Hooks on Tuesday, though the Astros have not made anything official.
"We should charter a bus to go down to Corpus," Astros manager A.J. Hinch joked. "It's trending that way. We still haven't made official decisions."
Harris (shoulder inflammation) and Sipp (calf soreness) both threw simulated games at Minute Maid Park on Friday and reported no issues on Saturday, putting them in line to take the next step and get into a game. Gattis, on the DL since Aug. 5 with a concussion, went through catching drills Saturday and also is nearing game action.
"I think it went fine," Harris said. "It was a step in the right direction. I threw about 15-20 pitches and came out of it feeling fine and woke up this morning feeling fine."
Hinch said Harris' stuff looked better than it had in his previous rehab assignment July 26 at Class A Buies Creek. Harris hasn't pitched in a big league game since July 5, returning from the disabled list briefly in late July without entering a game.
"From what I was told, I think his stuff was a little bit better," Hinch said. "I know his freedom to throw all his pitches, his conviction in his pitches, the finish on his breaking ball and his fastball was both better. He got a little tired. It's easy to take for granted what a month off will do to a guy, and I think he got a little fatigued at the end of his [simulated game]. All in all, I think it was definitely a step in the right direction."
Sipp, who's been out since Aug. 1, has been working on trying to throw his split-finger fastball on the same plane as his fastball, which creates more deception and made him so effective in 2015.
"He was better," Hinch said. "That's the best he's been since prior to the DL. I think his confidence is growing with his split, which has been a really difficult pitch to get a feel for for over a year. If that comes back for him and the feel comes back, all of a sudden he becomes a different reliever when he can throw that against right-handed hitters."
Brian McTaggart has covered the Astros since 2004, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter.