Correa out of lineup with lingering back stiffness

September 26th, 2019

SEATTLE -- With every day that shortstop isn’t in the starting lineup, more concern grows for the Astros. The playoffs start in just over a week, and Correa will be out of the lineup until at least Friday as he deals with recurring back tightness.

Correa was out of the lineup Wednesday for the second game in a row with a stiff back that he says was the result of the long flight from Houston to Seattle on Monday. Correa was originally in the lineup Tuesday, but was scratched a couple of hours before the game. He woke up Wednesday and was still dealing with a tight back, so he didn’t play.

“I’m taking it day by day,” Correa said. “Obviously, the playoffs is the main focus right now. I don’t want to force the issue at all, especially these last five games. So we’re playing it smart and shooting for the playoffs. That’s when I’ll be able to perform for the team.”

Correa, who was hampered by a sore back during the second half of last year, said his latest back ailment isn’t as serious as the one that put him on the injured list this season from Aug. 20-Sept. 17.

“I’m able to do everything right now, but we don’t want it to get to that point,” he said. “We’re playing it cautious. We’re aiming for the playoffs, instead of playing a few extra games here or there and risking it.”

Astros manager AJ Hinch said Correa’s latest bout with back trouble was “concerning” and “frustrating.”

“It’s disappointing for him and it’s disappointing for us,” Hinch said. “We’ll go day to day. We have a few days left to try to figure this out. I talked to him this morning. He reported much of the same and as soon as he did that, I told him he’s not going to play.”

The Astros are scheduled to arrive in Anaheim for the season-ending series against the Angels at 3 a.m. PT Thursday, and Hinch said Correa wouldn’t play Thursday, considering the late flight. Several other regular players are expected to be out of Thursday's lineup, as well, including , and .

Correa looked free and easy since returning from his back injury, and Hinch had given him two days off last week to help ease him back into the lineup, considering he had only one Minor League rehab game. Hinch said it is smart to be cautious with Correa, who said he could play if it were the playoffs.

“There’s certain timing and rhythm and playing he needs to do to make us all feel better,” he said. “He played very well when he was active a couple of days ago. He’s very, very good. I know he’ll be able to respond. I think anybody in my seat will feel better when he’s on the field and playing.”

Correa, who turned 25 on Sunday, is hitting .279 with 21 homers and 59 RBIs this year, and he homered twice Friday against the Angels. He missed 50 games from May 27-July 21 after he broke a rib while getting a massage at his home.