SEATTLE -- Only days after being activated from the disabled list, Astros outfielder George Springer was scratched from the starting lineup for Monday's series opener against the Mariners with a sore left quadriceps muscle. Manager AJ Hinch said Springer was available off the bench, but he wasn't needed in a
SEATTLE -- Only days after being activated from the disabled list, Astros outfielder George Springer was scratched from the starting lineup for Monday's series opener against the Mariners with a sore left quadriceps muscle. Manager AJ Hinch said Springer was available off the bench, but he wasn't needed in a 7-4 loss loss at Safeco Field.
Springer, who missed eight games on the DL with a left thumb sprain, showed up at the ballpark on Monday complaining of left leg soreness and he was immediately pulled from the lineup.
"That, for me, is non-negotiable," Hinch said. "We're going to take him out of the lineup and I can utilize him in a one at-bat scenario more so than risk having any more irritation. Something bothered him his last at-bat [on Sunday in Oakland]. He's not really sure what happened. We don't think it's significant, but enough for us to have an excuse to get him out of the lineup. It helps his thumb, it helps his leg. I'll use him in a critical at-bat if the situation warrants it."
Springer went 3-for-13 in the weekend series against the A's and appeared to be favoring his left thumb at times. Hinch said the World Series Most Valuable Player will likely have to deal with thumb soreness the rest of the season.
"There's not going to be a gap in time where he completely gets the soreness out of him," he said. "We saw him hit some balls over 100 mph, so I think it's more foul balls and swing and misses, and check swings that irritate him. He's a tough kid. He'll be fine. It's nothing he's going to do damage to or anything he can't handle. You may see some uncomfortable swings for the foreseeable future."
Veteran catcher Brian McCann and reliever Chris Devenski joined the club on Monday following their injury rehab outings over the weekend for Triple-A Fresno, which was playing in nearby Tacoma. Both are getting closer to being activated, but they will first head to Double-A Corpus Christi this week to play in more Minor League rehab games.
McCann, who underwent surgery on July 3 to repair a torn meniscus in his right knee, said his knee feels the best it's felt in years. He caught five innings for Fresno on Saturday and will work himself up to nine innings at Double-A before being activated, which could happen before rosters expand Sept. 1.
"The stability in my knee, that's what I haven't had," McCann said. "When I plant to hit, my knee would give out. Now I have some stability in there and it's night and day."
Devenski, meanwhile, has made two rehab outings at Fresno after going on the disabled list July 31 with right hamstring tightness. He threw a bullpen Monday in Seattle with pitching coach Brent Strom watching him perform.
"He'll take a couple of days off and throw his inning or inning-plus in Corpus as he works his way back to Houston," Hinch said. "By the time we get back to Houston [on Aug. 27], we have at least our options open to what is next for these guys, their readiness to rejoin us and we all know Sept. 1 is not too far away. We'll determine that when we're in the same state and same vicinity of the country."
Tuesday's starter update
The Astros haven't yet announced a starter for Tuesday's game against the Mariners. After using only five starting pitchers all season, the club needs a replacement for Lance McCullers, who went on the disabled list on Aug. 5 with right elbow discomfort. Houston has been using off-days to employ a four-man rotation, but it will need a fresh arm on Tuesday.
Hinch said he called Mariners manager Scott Servais and told him the team plans to start a right-hander, which will come from among this group of relievers: Collin McHugh, Brad Peacock, Joe Smith or Will Harris. It all depends on whether they pitch in Monday's series opener.
Regardless, the Astros will treat Tuesday's game as a "bullpen day," meaning a steady stream of relievers will have to pitch considering neither McHugh, Peacock, Smith or Harris are built up to pitch deep into a game.
Brian McTaggart has covered the Astros since 2004, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter and listen to his podcast.