Astros News: Kyle Tucker cleat switch, McCormick's progress, Abreu surprise return?

The Astros are starting to get their original lineup healthy again, but that may not be as good a thing as one would think.
Milwaukee Brewers v Houston Astros
Milwaukee Brewers v Houston Astros / Tim Warner/GettyImages

Houston Astros outfielder Kyle Tucker has been on a rampage this season. Through 46 games, Tucker has posted an astonishing .287/.417/.623 line with 15 home runs and is one of the biggest reasons why the Astros have performed so much better than they did to start the season.

However, he found himself in a bit of a rut on Sunday and had to make a decision on the fly to get himself back on track.

During the series finale against the Brewers, Tucker started wearing green cleats to celebrate the Astros mascot's birthday. Three plate appearances later, Tucker was 0-3 with three strikeouts and he decided to take drastic measures (and possibly hurt Orbit's feelings).

Tucker went and changed his cleats, and subsequently hit homers in his next two at-bats to help Houston cobble together another win.

When asked after the game about the switch, Tucker replied, “Rea threw some good pitches, a lot of backdoor cutters, the ones on the corners and stuff. I don’t know if the cleats were making him throw good pitches, but I just decided to switch some stuff and it worked out.”

Astros News: Chas McCormick to return from IL soon

While most of this season's injuries for the Astros have coming on the pitching side of things, the position players have certainly not been immune. Chas McCormick went on the IL in April with a hamstring injury that was one of the factors (along with Jose Abreu's demotion) that ultimately led Houston to call up Joey Loperfido.

The good news is that McCormick has progressed well and should be activated from the injured list sometime this week. However, the question now becomes how much he will play once he is declared healthy. With Jake Meyers on his revenge tour at the moment and both Loperfido and Tucker hitting well, it is hard to justify playing McCormick over any of those guys in the outfield right now.

The best guess is that he will get spot starts here and there and, assuming Houston's current trio of outfielders keep hitting, McCormick could be a prime candidate to get moved at the trade deadline.

Astros News: Jose Abreu could return to the big leagues sooner than anyone thought

When fans got an update on Jose Abreu last week, it seemed more sad than promising. He wasn't playing in minor league games and instead had been relegated to doing live BP on the backfields. Given how much he has struggled at the plate and with injuries since he signed with the Astros, it was fair to wonder if he was reaching the end of the line.

However, Astros general manager Dana Brown turned that narrative on its head when it was revealed that the current plan is for Abreu to play in a couple minor league games and return by the weekend potentially.

There is a lot to unpack here. One, the Astros' lineup has been strictly better without Abreu than with him in 2024. However, Jon Singleton isn't exactly knocking the covering off the ball at first base this year, either, so if Houston truly thinks they have fixed Abreu, it could be worth a shot to give him another chance. That said, most signs point to Abreu's future being a very expensive bench bat as much as Houston is trying to figure out how to get more out of him than that.

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