Carlos Correa to return to Astros lineup tonight, bat seventh

HOUSTON, TEXAS - AUGUST 02: Carlos Correa #1 of the Houston Astros hits a home run in the fifth inning against the Seattle Mariners at Minute Maid Park on August 02, 2019 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
HOUSTON, TEXAS - AUGUST 02: Carlos Correa #1 of the Houston Astros hits a home run in the fifth inning against the Seattle Mariners at Minute Maid Park on August 02, 2019 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images) /
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The Astros star shortstop Carlos Correa will rejoin the lineup tonight.

After missing 25 games with a back injury, Astros shortstop Carlos Correa will rejoin the lineup for Tuesday’s game against the Rangers. This puts the lineup back to full strength with just enough time for everything to gel before the playoffs start.

Correa may not be playing full games just yet, however, as A.J. Hinch previously said he would play a Spring Training-type workload early on. This could mean Correa plays a few innings and then gets replaced later in the game, and could have off days sprinkled in as well. Hinch could plug Myles Straw in at shortstop, or slide Alex Bregman back to short and put Aledmys Diaz or Abraham Toro in at third base.

Correa only managed to get into one rehab game with Triple-A Round Rock, as the Express were eliminated from the postseason in his only appearance. To his credit, he went 1-for-2 with a single and two walks in the game last Friday.

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So thanks to his short rehab stint, the Astros will start him out slowly to ensure he has time to build back up for the postseason and doesn’t risk another injury. A healthy Correa only deepens an already imposing lineup and increases the team’s chances of capturing another title.

Lineup Change Here to Stay?

Before his back injury, Correa had traditionally been hitting sixth, between Yordan Alvarez and Yuli Gurriel. For tonight’s game, however, he will bat seventh, behind Gurriel. There’s no telling if this will become a permanent arrangement, but it’s noteworthy nonetheless.

Gurriel has certainly earned a move up in the lineup, thanks to his season stats of a .303 average, 40 doubles, 28 homers and 99 RBIs. Correa’s overall numbers are solid (.278, 19 homers in 72 games), but he’ll need to prove he’s healthy and productive after hitting just .238 in the second half of the season so far.

Next. Evaluating Bregman's MVP chances with Trout injured. dark

Hinch can and probably will tweak the lineup as he sees fit, so this may not be the same lineup we see in Game One of the ALDS. The main thing is having Correa healthy and seeing the ball well, and the team has every reason to avoid pushing him too hard to ensure he’s ready to go in October.

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