expected to miss 4-6 weeks, according to Evan Drellich of the Houston Chronicle.The Houston Astros will be without one of their sluggers during spring training. Designated hitter Evan Gattis underwent hernia surgery, and is
While the report says the injury is not severe, it’s less than encouraging news for the Astros. Depending on how long his recovery takes, it’s possible opening day could be in jeopardy. Gattis would likely need to receive some reps before he’s fully activated, so if he remains out deep into spring training, there’s a chance those reps could impact the regular season. Even if that’s the case, it doesn’t appear Gattis will miss much time once actual games start.
Provided Gattis is able to return by the start of the regular season, or shortly after it begins, there may actually be somewhat of a silver lining with the injury. If anything, Gattis being sidelined in the spring allows the team to take a closer look at both Jonathan Singelton and A.J. Reed in March.
The 24-year-old Singleton is a former top prospect first baseman who has been awful in each of his brief major-league stints. Over 420 career plate appearances in the majors, he has a .171/.290/.331 slash line in the majors. Because of his struggles, Singleton likely would have been one of the most important players to watch this spring. If he performs well in March, he might open the season as a starter. If he performs poorly, he could find himself back in the minors.
Reed might make that point moot anyway. The 22-year-old first baseman exploded in the minors last season, hitting .340/.432/.612 over two levels. He has just over 200 plate appearances in Double-A, however, so forecasting him as the starter when the 2016 regular season begins might be aggressive. Still, Gattis’ injury gives the Astros plenty of chances to see if Reed can hack it against major-league caliber pitchers this March. It may not accelerate his time table, but those at-bats could prove to be useful to his development.
Injuries that prevent players from participating in spring training are always discouraging, but this one seems relatively mild. Gattis’ injury will allow the club to take a closer look at some of their youngsters. On top of that, he should be back by the time the games count.
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