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Correa takes BP, eyes Thursday rehab game

MLB.com @brianmctaggart

HOUSTON -- Carlos Correa could be sent out on Minor League rehab assignment as early as Thursday. The Astros' All-Star shortstop took a huge step toward returning to game action Tuesday when he took batting practice on the field.

Correa, who said he was scheduled to see the team doctor after BP, will go through full pregame activities before possibly being sent out Thursday to play for Double-A Corpus Christi, which plays Midland at home Thursday and Friday before opening a three-game road series Saturday against San Antonio.

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HOUSTON -- Carlos Correa could be sent out on Minor League rehab assignment as early as Thursday. The Astros' All-Star shortstop took a huge step toward returning to game action Tuesday when he took batting practice on the field.

Correa, who said he was scheduled to see the team doctor after BP, will go through full pregame activities before possibly being sent out Thursday to play for Double-A Corpus Christi, which plays Midland at home Thursday and Friday before opening a three-game road series Saturday against San Antonio.

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"I'm really excited for everything, and hopefully I can resume my rehab assignment very soon," Correa said.

Heavy rains are forecast for San Antonio on Saturday and Sunday, which could alter the Astros' plans.

Correa's rehab assignment is likely to last for more than a week, considering there will be days off in between and he hasn't played in a game since tearing a thumb ligament July 17. The Astros are 14-17 since the injury.

Correa, 22, was having an MVP-caliber season for the Astros, hitting .320 with 18 doubles, 20 home runs and 67 RBIs in 84 games. Before getting injured, he ranked second in the American League in RBIs, tied for second in multihit games (33), third in WAR (4.8), fifth in batting average, fifth in OPS (.966) and fifth in runs scored (64).

"Sitting in the dugout every single game watching the team go out there and perform, it's not me," he said. "I'm not used to that. I'm not used to sitting the dugout. I want to go out there and physically contribute to the game. I'm really excited to be back."

Meanwhile, All-Star pitcher Lance McCullers Jr., who's been out since July 31 with back discomfort, could also be sent on rehab later this week, though manager A.J. Hinch said the team may determine he needs another live batting-practice session instead.

"He's getting closer to real competition," Hinch said.

Four Astros players began Minor League rehab stints Tuesday at Corpus Christi -- pitchers Will Harris (right shoulder inflammation), Tony Sipp (right calf soreness) and Michael Feliz (right shoulder discomfort) and catcher Evan Gattis, who's recovering from a concussion.

Gattis caught Tuesday, will be at designated hitter Wednesday and then will catch again Thursday before being reevaluated. Harris could rejoin the Astros on Wednesday if he responds well to his outing with the Hooks on Tuesday. Feliz and Sipp aren't expected back until September.

Also, catcher Brian McCann, who's been out since Aug. 14 with a right knee issue, will come off the DL Thursday, Hinch said. He won't require a rehab assignment.

"It's August, and there's a lot of teams that are beat up," Hinch said. "I'll be happy when we're healthy and we stop talking about it."

Brian McTaggart has covered the Astros since 2004, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter.

Houston Astros, Carlos Correa