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Astros change color of seat Alvarez HR hit

@brianmctaggart
September 10, 2019

HOUSTON -- The seat where Astros rookie slugger Yordan Alvarez deposited a baseball with a tape-measure home run in the second inning of Monday’s blowout win over the A’s has been wrapped in orange vinyl by the Astros to mark its significance. Alvarez, the lefty slugger who is the frontrunner

HOUSTON -- The seat where Astros rookie slugger Yordan Alvarez deposited a baseball with a tape-measure home run in the second inning of Monday’s blowout win over the A’s has been wrapped in orange vinyl by the Astros to mark its significance.

Alvarez, the lefty slugger who is the frontrunner for American League Rookie of the Year, hit homers in his first two at-bats Monday, including a 415-foot blast down the right-field line that landed in Minute Maid Park’s third deck. The ball landed in section 337, row 1, seat 18.

Alvarez is the first Astros player to hit a fair ball into the third deck. Jeromy Burnitz did it on Sept. 29, 2000, in the first year Minute Maid Park opened as Enron Field.

Marking the seat follows a tradition that the Astros had at the Astrodome. Only three Astros players hit homers into the upper deck in the Dome -- Jimmy Wynn (April 12, 1970), Doug Rader (on April 3, 1970) and Eric Anthony (May 17, 1990). Those seats were painted to commemorate the players’ achievements.

Alvarez set a club rookie single-season record when he blasted his 23rd and 24th home runs on Monday, two of the club single-game record-tying seven homers hit by the Astros, including a Major League record six in the first two innings.

Pressly close to return

All-Star relief pitcher Ryan Pressly is close to returning to action, less than a month following knee surgery. Pressly, who has thrown twice in the bullpen in recent days, could be activated within the next week it appears.

“He’s ready to go,” Astros manager AJ Hinch said. “It’s a matter of us just being super cautious with the schedule and the timeline that we have. There’s an argument we could push him a little bit faster, there’s also an argument we need to be super conservative with where he’s at. I have no concerns about Press other than to stay disciplined to get him ready for the last 10 days of the season or so.”

Pressly could face hitters soon, Hinch said, which would be an intensity drill. It’s possible Pressly could factor into the Triple-A playoffs, with Round Rock hosting at least one Pacific Coast League playoff game this weekend.

Correa set for rehab

Shortstop Carlos Correa is set to return to game action Friday for the first time since leaving a game Aug. 19 with a stiff lower back. Correa has been going through full baseball drills in recent days without pain, including fielding ground balls, running and swinging the bat.

The tentative plan is for Correa to join Triple-A Round Rock for Game 3 of the Pacific Coast League Championship Series on Friday in Round Rock. The Express could also play host to Game 4 on Saturday and a decisive fifth game on Sunday, if the series goes that long. The Triple-A championship game is Sept. 24.

“I’m very excited about that,” Correa said. “It depends on how the series goes, but hopefully I can get a couple of games in.”

Correa is likely to return to the Astros' lineup during next week’s series against the Rangers, giving him a week’s worth of games to get ready for the playoffs. After missing six weeks last season with back issues that plagued even when he was playing in the postseason, Correa is hopeful they will be behind him this time.

“I’ve been able to do what the doctor told me to prevent this from happening again,” he said. “We’ve been on top of everything. I’ve been feeling great like you guys have seen. I’ve been out on the field every day and looking great. I’m staying positive and very happy with how things are going and I’m pretty sure it’s behind me.”

Worth noting

Hinch said that if right-hander Collin McHugh (right elbow soreness) isn’t on a throwing program within another week or so it might be hard for him to return this season. Hinch said the team has circled the Sept. 17-18 series against the Rangers as an important status check for McHugh and fellow injured pitcher Brad Peacock (right shoulder discomfort).

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