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Tucker eager to settle in with Astros

Outfielder remains after Springer's return as Grossman sent down

HOUSTON -- Outfielder Preston Tucker was called up to make his Major League debut last week when George Springer went on the seven-day concussion disabled list, but when Springer was activated Wednesday, Tucker stayed with the Astros.

"I'm excited that they think I can contribute to the team," Tucker said. "I'm not really sure what kind of roles they want me to play, but I'm up for anything. But once I get comfortable, I'll be able to help us win some ballgames."

The Astros optioned outfielder Robbie Grossman to Triple-A Fresno late Tuesday and chose to keep Tucker, who's 1-for-10 in his brief career entering Wednesday. Tucker, a left-handed hitter, figures to get at-bats in left field when Colby Rasmus is out of the game or playing center field.

"There's ways to get Tucker in the lineup," Astros manager A.J. Hinch said.

A seventh-round pick by the Astros in 2012, Tucker was leading the Minor Leagues in home runs (10) and RBIs (32), hitting .320 in 25 games before getting called up from the Pacific Coast League.

"Tuck was performing about as good as anybody in the PCL," Hinch said. "Not only on Fresno's team, but in the entire league, so he was so dominant. ... It was a strong recommendation from our scouts and player development people about his performance."

Grossman made the Opening Day roster and was last year's starter in left field, but he was hitting .143 with one homer when he was sent out.

"He got off to a rough start the beginning of a season," Hinch said. "He did help us win a game with the opposite-field home run. His right-handed swing was not complementing Rasmus as much as we had hoped at the time. So he's got a chance to go down for at least 10 days and get some regular at-bats in Triple-A and get his offense going."

Brian McTaggart is a reporter for and writes an MLBlog, Tag's Lines. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter.
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