The Houston Astros could get outfielder Michael Brantley back this weekend.
It’s been a rough go of it on the injury front for the Houston Astros this season. They’ve been without ace Justin Verlander, closer Roberto Osuna and several others, and now they’re grappling with the reality that Yordan Alvarez is done for the year. But we do have some good news — it looks like Michael Brantley will return this weekend.
Brantley was placed on the Injured List last weekend after a sore quad was preventing him from playing left field. He last played in a game on Aug. 11, so he could come off the IL prior to this Saturday’s game if the team believes he’s ready. With Alvarez no longer taking up the DH spot, it seems likely he’ll be back.
Lending further credence to that theory, the Astros listed Brantley as one of their taxi squad players for this road trip, meaning he is traveling with the team as it goes to Colorado and then San Diego. The fact that they’ve done that shows that, barring any setbacks, they fully intend to add him to the active roster on this trip.
He was well enough to DH for a while, though apparently he felt worse after working out in the outfield. Even if he’s still limited to DH duties, the Astros could really use his bat in the lineup, as the entire offense has been struggling of late.
The Brantley Effect
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Following that 11-run outburst against the Mariners last Friday, nine of which came in one inning, the Houston offense mustered a total of nine runs in its next four games but somehow managed to win them all thanks to excellent pitching. This is a group that couldn’t score a single run in the first nine innings on Tuesday before breaking out on Wednesday.
In 15 games this season, Brantley is hitting .286/.375/.446 with six doubles, a homer and eight RBIs. That puts him third on the team in batting average, trailing only Carlos Correa and Yuli Gurriel. Any way you slice it, having him back out there will be a big boost to a unit that desperately needs one.
Brantley also has himself to think about, as he’ll be a free agent at season’s end. He needs to put up a solid showing, both at the plate and in terms of his health, as he prepares to seek a new contract. The Astros will be all the better for it if he can give them the kind of production that he’s had for most of his career.