Look out, it appears that Carlos Gomez is close to returning for the Astros sometime this upcoming week.
Per a recent report from Jake Kaplan of the Houston Chronicle, Carlos Gomez is set to finish his rehab stint in the minors and will be rejoining the Astros sometime this week against the Arizona Diamondbacks. Tuesday is the earliest that the Astros can activate Gomez from the 15-day disabled list.
While the Astros have played some of their best baseball without Gomez, there is no denying the talent he brings to the team when he is playing at full strength. And even though he went 5-for-17 with one home run in his stint with the Corpus Christi Hooks, the Astros AA affiliate in the Texas League, the time away may have been beneficial for Gomez as he looks to find consistency. Our own Matthew Bartlett detailed Gomez and his recent minor league stint in more depth here.
So what does this mean for the Astros current outfield situation?
Well, the odds are that Tony Kemp, who has collected five hits in 28 plate appearances, will be optioned back to the Frenso Grizzlies. Or perhaps Jake Marisnick, who is currently slashing .145/.175/.200, will be moved back to AAA. Regardless, the Astros will roll with Gomez as their starting center fielder until further notice.
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The Astros lineup will likely change a bit as well. Even though Gomez hasn’t hit all that well in the majors, or minors, in 2016 then manager A.J. Hinch may elect to keep the former Brewer in the lower half of the lineup for the time being. That is probably a good thing since the top half of the lineup has produced fairly well with George Springer occupying the leadoff role. So expect Gomez to occupy the sixth to eighth spot in the lineup on any given game depending on the opposing pitcher.
But the expectations surrounding Gomez and his return should be tempered and realistic. Those expecting him to rebound right off the bat should probably take it a bit more easy on him. After all, it wasn’t his fault that the Astros gave up numerous highly regarded prospects for him and Mike Fiers last summer. We are all humans, don’t forget that.
However, it could be entirely within the realm of possibility that Gomez begins to show why the Astros traded for him. Maybe that step away from the major league team and an opportunity to concentrate on his game is all he needed.
**Statistics provided by Fangraphs and Baseball Reference**