Correa, Diaz closer to rejoining Astros

July 16th, 2019

ANAHEIM -- A pair of injured Astros have taken their next steps toward rejoining the team, as and began rehab assignments with Triple-A Round Rock on Monday.

Diaz, starting at second base and batting second, was 1-for-4 with a base hit, and he scored a run from second. Correa, starting at shortstop and batting third, went 0-for-3. Correa exited after five innings and Diaz after seven, as was the Astros’ plan.

Out since May 27 with a fractured rib, Correa was transferred to the 60-day injured list on Friday and will not be eligible to return until July 26. The Astros are hoping to be able to activate him during next week’s series against the Cardinals in St. Louis.

“With Correa having a built-in date already, that’s an easier target to plan for,” Astros manager AJ Hinch said.

Diaz, who’s been dealing with a left hamstring strain, was placed on the 10-day injured list on May 27. His timeline is a bit more up in the air, but Hinch estimated the utility man will need 4-7 rehab games before returning.

“I don’t know what he’s gonna need to feel good, and to have done everything,” said Hinch. “If he gets on base a ton in the first few games and he tests his leg and things are playing well -- his timing’s good, his defense is good, he’s played all the positions we want him to -- it’s all criteria that we’re gonna pay attention to. If he goes 0-for the first couple games and never gets on base and never gets to run, then we’re gonna have to extend it.”

The Astros plan to transfer Diaz’s assignment to Double-A Corpus Christi after a couple of games, since they want him to get some reps at shortstop, which he can’t do while playing in the same rehab game as Correa. That will only happen if Diaz comes out of Monday’s game healthy. He’s already experienced some setbacks in his recovery, so the Astros plan to give him Tuesday off to be cautious.

“We have a plan. But, honestly, we need to get through tonight’s game without a reinjury. That we’ve not been able to do with him at this point,” said Hinch. “So tonight’s important. ... After that, if we could build off of that and move him around, great.”

Prior to his injury, Correa hit .295/.360/.547 with 11 homers through 50 games. In his absence, Alex Bregman has shifted over from third base to take on the bulk of the shortstop duties, with Yuli Gurriel mostly handling the hot corner.

Diaz, whose versatility makes him important part of the Astros’ depth chart, has hit .286/.321/.510 with five homers through 32 games.