Astros make roster move that suggests Kyle Tucker could be out for a bit

Feb 26, 2024; Lakeland, Florida, USA; Houston Astros first baseman Trey Cabbage (38) bats during the first inning against the Detroit Tigers at Publix Field at Joker Marchant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mike Watters-USA TODAY Sports
Feb 26, 2024; Lakeland, Florida, USA; Houston Astros first baseman Trey Cabbage (38) bats during the first inning against the Detroit Tigers at Publix Field at Joker Marchant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mike Watters-USA TODAY Sports / Mike Watters-USA TODAY Sports
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When Houston Astros star Kyle Tucker was forced to leave Monday's game early after fouling a ball off his shin, fans braced for the worst. Tucker was obviously in a lot of pain and the sport of baseball has seen these sort of injuries turn into lengthy absences when X-rays reveal hairline fractures, broken kneecaps, or just severe bone bruises.

Fortunately, Houston appears to have dodged the worst news as Tucker's X-rays after the game were negative. However, the team didn't reveal whether or not the slugger would be missing time.

Maybe they're giving us clues, though? The team's roster move on Tuesday does point to the fact that they are at least planning not to rely on Tucker jumping right back in the lineup. On Tuesday afternoon, Trey Cabbage was called up to the majors while Grae Kessinger was optioned to Triple-A.

Astros News: Trey Cabbage called up, Grae Kessinger sent down as Houston shores up outfield depth

The Astros traded for Cabbage for this exact situation. He is a high-upside depth piece who can play multiple positions, including the outfield. Even in the event that the Astros decide not to put Tucker on the IL, this move allows them to give him some time off while his (painful) boo-boo heals up without sacrificing too much roster flexibility in the interim.

Calling up Cabbage also probably means that the Astros don't expect Tucker to be out for too long at this moment in time. Cabbage can be a dynamic player and has a .960 OPS down in the minors in 2024, but he has been pretty inconsistent in the big leagues. If Tucker was going to be on the shelf for a while, Houston probably would have brought Joey Loperfido back up and shuffled the outfield around to make it work. Instead, they left Loperfido in the minors to get regular plate appearances.

As for Kessinger, this isn't a huge short-term loss as the Astros have Mauricio Dubon for most, if not all, of the opportunities where Kessinger could see some action. Given where the Astros' needs are right now, sending him to the minors shouldn't hurt them at all.

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