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Peacock returns to mound for bullpen session

Bregman gets day off in finale; Pressly still day to day
@LangoschMLB
July 28, 2019

ST. LOUIS -- Brad Peacock's second attempt to work his way back from a right shoulder injury got off to an encouraging start on Sunday, as he threw 25 pitches in a pain-free bullpen session at Busch Stadium. “It felt really good,” Peacock said as he walked off the field.

ST. LOUIS -- Brad Peacock's second attempt to work his way back from a right shoulder injury got off to an encouraging start on Sunday, as he threw 25 pitches in a pain-free bullpen session at Busch Stadium.

“It felt really good,” Peacock said as he walked off the field. “I was throwing strikes. That’s all you can ask for.”

It marked the first time Peacock had been on a mound since July 12, when he threw what was supposed to be his final side session ahead of a return to the Astros' rotation. Those plans were thwarted a day later, however, when he felt continued shoulder discomfort while shagging flyballs during batting practice. That forced the Astros to pause Peacock’s rehab work.

If Peacock recovers well from Sunday’s test, he will return to the mound for another bullpen session on Wednesday. The Astros will then determine whether he’ll repeat the exercise again or advance to facing hitters.

By that point, the Astros also expect to have a better feel for how they might utilize Peacock when he returns. As a member of the rotation, Peacock was 5-6 with a 4.24 ERA, 1.18 WHIP and 3.57 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 15 starts before getting injured in late June. He had also made two appearances out of the bullpen.

The Astros are currently without a fifth starter, though that may not be the case in a few days. Adding to the rotation remains a Trade Deadline priority for president of baseball operations and general manager Jeff Luhnow. If they do so, Peacock could slide into the bullpen.

“Obviously, the next couple days, there will be plenty of attention on trades, on callups, on different things,” manager AJ Hinch said. “Timing wise, it kind of maps out to where we’ll have a lot more information over the next week.”

Prepping Peacock to pitch in relief could also expedite his return, as it would shorten the length of time he’d need to be on a Minor League rehab assignment.

“We’ll see what happens,” Peacock said. “Like I’ve said a million times, I’m just happy to be here and help the team out doing whatever I can do, whether it’s in the bullpen or starting. Whatever they need.”

Bregman gets rare day off
Alex Bregman's absence from Sunday’s lineup vs. the Cardinals was described as a “typical off-day” by Hinch, who informed the infielder after Saturday’s game that he planned to give him a breather in the series finale.

It marked only the second time since April 13 that Bregman had been out of the starting lineup, and the move came a day after he snapped an 0-for-16 skid while reaching base three times and scoring twice in an 8-2 Astros win.

While Bregman was on the bench Sunday, Yordan Alvarez got a chance to come off it. The designated hitter made his sixth career start in left field. He hit fourth, one spot ahead of Carlos Correa, who arrived at the ballpark showing no lingering effects from being hit near his right elbow on an awkward slide from Yairo Munoz late in Saturday’s game.

Pressly remains day to day
Though Hinch didn’t declare setup man Ryan Pressly unavailable on Sunday, the Astros' manager acknowledged that he preferred to avoid using the right-hander for another day. Doing so would give Pressly three consecutive days to rest his sore right knee ahead of the team’s series in Cleveland.

The Astros remain hopeful that Pressly can avoid landing on the 10-day injured list, which would keep him out until at least Aug. 6.

Jenifer Langosch is a senior content manager at MLB.com. She previously covered the Pirates (2007-11) and Cardinals (2012-19). Follow her on Twitter.