With Yuli Gurriel returning to the Astros lineup Tuesday, the offense will excel behind this impressive rotation.
The Astros opened the 2018 season with a 4-1 victory over the Texas Rangers. It wasn’t even that close of a game until Ken Giles allowed a run in the ninth inning. The only real surprise of opening day was that Yuli Gurriel would not be placed in the 10-day DL. Instead, he was placed on the restricted list serving his five-game suspension. When will Gurriel return to the lineup?
According to Brian McTaggart, A.J. Hinch expects Gurriel to be in the lineup Tuesday. That was the plan for this entire offseason, but we thought that things changed when Gurriel had the surgery. We predicted that he would be back in the third week of the season, but now he is returning in the second week. This seems like it’s too soon right?
We I asked Jeremy Booth on last night’s Talking Stros, he suggested that it depends on the player. Some people heal faster than others with hamate injuries. The Rangers will see how fast Delino DeShields recovers with a similar injury. According to reports, his timeline is 4-6 weeks. Despite being without Gurriel, the Astros still took care of business with a 3-1 record versus the Rangers.
With yesterday being April Fools day, I wanted to write a post about how Josh Reddick would be the guy who goes down to Triple-A. However, it was Easter as well, and I never got around to it. Max Stassi has earned his keep for now as the backup catcher, so he seems to be safe. With Gurriel returning, someone has to go down, between Derek Fisher and J.D. Davis. While they both only have one hit, Fisher is probably needed more on the roster at the moment.
Gurriel will return soon.
Gurriel has had about 30 at-bats in minor league camp over the past week trying to ramp up to game speed. Davis will go down to Triple-A and continue developing at the plate and play the outfield. There is still a logjam at first and third base in Triple-A with Davis, Tyler White, and A.J. Reed. This is part of the reason the Astros are so good because of their depth.
Gurriel was a big topic on last night’s Talking Stros. While the offense did score versus the Rangers, you can see spots where they needed Gurriel in the lineup. Booth described Gurriel as a hitter, not as a home run hitter. You may see Gurriel’s ceiling with his 18 homers last year, but he gets the big homers as we saw in the playoffs.
***Stats by Baseball-Reference***