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Smith slated for Double-A rehab start

Correa sidelined for second straight game; Houston to visit St. Pete
MLB.com

HOUSTON -- Astros reliever Joe Smith appears to be nearing the end of his stint on the 10-day disabled list.

Following successful bullpens sessions Sunday and Wednesday, Smith will make his first rehab appearance on Friday with Double-A Corpus Christi in a road game against the Arkansas Travelers. Smith has missed 19 games since being sidelined with right elbow soreness, including Wednesday's series finale against the Blue Jays.

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HOUSTON -- Astros reliever Joe Smith appears to be nearing the end of his stint on the 10-day disabled list.

Following successful bullpens sessions Sunday and Wednesday, Smith will make his first rehab appearance on Friday with Double-A Corpus Christi in a road game against the Arkansas Travelers. Smith has missed 19 games since being sidelined with right elbow soreness, including Wednesday's series finale against the Blue Jays.

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"I feel good," Smith said Wednesday shortly after completing his second bullpen session.

Smith was unsure if he will need more than one rehab appearance in the Minor Leagues.

Smith may be able to join the Astros somewhere along their six-game road trip. Houston will begin a four-game series Thursday at Tampa Bay, then will start a two-game set at Texas on July 3-4. His bullpen sessions on Sunday and Wednesday were Smith's most notable progress since he was placed on the DL on June 10, retroactive to June 7.

Correa remains out with back issue
Astros manager AJ Hinch said shortstop Carlos Correa is day to day while dealing with a "little bit of back stiffness," which Hinch said was why Correa was out of both Tuesday and Wednesday's lineups vs. Toronto.

"I'm going to be ultra careful with him and conservative with him," Hinch said. "I'm just not going to play him until we're convinced that he's not sore anymore."

Correa, who walked and singled in Monday's series opener against Toronto, is batting .286 this season with 13 home runs and 49 RBIs, the second most on the Astros behind Evan Gattis' 51 RBIs.

Astros return to St. Pete
The Astros will return to St. Petersburg and Tropicana Field for a four-game series starting Friday. It's the first time the Astros will have visited since using the ballpark as their temporary home during Hurricane Harvey last August.

The storm dumped more than two feet of rain on the Houston area, practically submerging the city underwater, and forced one of the Astros' home bouts against the Rangers to be played at the Rays' home in St. Petersburg.

"None of us want to relive Harvey," Hinch said Wednesday. "We do appreciate that Tampa opened their doors to us, and we'll always be grateful for that part of last season. One, we're not playing the Rangers so that is a little bit different. And two, it's just part of our schedule that we knew we were going. We should always remember to say thanks to the Tampa people that allowed that to be home for us."

Beer earns promotion
Astros first-round pick Seth Beer was promoted Wednesday from Class A Short-Season Tri-City to Class A Quad Cities. He's been added to Quad City's roster.

Beer batted .293/.431/.659 with three doubles and four home runs in 11 games with the Valley Cats. His four home runs led the New York-Penn League in that span.

Christian Boutwell is a reporter for MLB.com based in Houston.

Houston Astros, Joe Smith