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Off-days arrive at perfect time for injured Astros

Correa expected back soon; Houston using four-man rotation with Devenski, McCullers out
Special to MLB.com

SAN FRANCISCO -- When the 2018 schedule first came out, Astros manager AJ Hinch took a look at August and saw that the month was going to be a challenge.

Houston was down for 15 road games, all of them on the West Coast, and just 11 games at home in Minute Maid Park.

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SAN FRANCISCO -- When the 2018 schedule first came out, Astros manager AJ Hinch took a look at August and saw that the month was going to be a challenge.

Houston was down for 15 road games, all of them on the West Coast, and just 11 games at home in Minute Maid Park.

View Full Game Coverage

Mixed in were five days off, the second of them coming up on Wednesday, and what Hinch said he couldn't have known back then was just how important that time off would be.

The Astros have three days off in the next nine days, and Houston's much-injured roster is going to be able to use those to get back to health.

"We knew the off-days in August were going to be important," Hinch said Tuesday morning. "But never did we know that we were going to be talking about them being an advantage to maybe take a couple games away from a DL stint for a large number of our players."

Shortstop Carlos Correa should be good to go after Thursday. He'll play the last of his rehab games with Double-A Corpus Christi on Wednesday.

Outfielder George Springer, who went on the 10-day disabled list on Monday, would only miss eight games, thanks to the off-days -- assuming he's back on time after spraining his left thumb.

Second baseman Jose Altuve, catcher Brian McCann and pitchers Chris Devenski and Lance McCullers Jr. will see some benefit, too, although McCullers isn't expected back until at least September.

Video: MLB Tonight: Ramifications of McCullers Jr.'s injury

In the short term, the Astros only have to go with four starting pitchers -- an obvious advantage, because of the injury situation. Thanks to the off-days, Houston only needs to employ a fifth starter twice more this month, on the 22nd and again on the 28th.

"Obviously, the rest is very important for our pitching," Hinch said. "The August schedule, it's a long season and there's a little lull in August. You really feel it this time of the year. You can't look too much into it -- you've got to play the full schedule. You have to play 162."

John Hickey is a contributor to MLB.com.

Houston Astros