Shortstop Jed Lowrie has been out of action for the Houston Astros since late April after a ligament tear required thumb surgery. Despite his absence, the club has maintained its lead in the AL West, thanks in part to the efforts of young phenoms like Carlos Correa and Preston Tucker.
Lowrie started swinging in the batting cage last week while the Astros were in Boston, and the next step will be live batting practice from a coach.
That next step, though, may be drawn out a bit, as manager A.J. Hinch explained to McTaggart: "Hopefully that’s sooner than later. It’s really a slow process to get hand strength back."
Hinch also told McTaggart that Lowrie might head to the club’s spring training facility next week for more rehab work, but again emphasized that beyond that there isn’t much of a clear-cut plan in place: "When he’s ready to go out and play, we’ll have a game plan for him as he gets into games. I talk to him every day in some capacity. We’ve really haven’t gotten too specific. He’s taken ground balls at short and third. He’s watching and he understands. He’s played just about everywhere in his career, but having a definitive plan — until we put a calendar in front of him where he’s going to go, [Double-A] Corpus [Christi] or [Triple-A] Fresno, it’s nothing that we’re discussing."
The Astros have the good fortune of not having to rush him back, considering the impact Correa has had since making his Major League debut and securing the full-time shortstop role.
Before he went down with the thumb injury, Lowrie slashed .300/.432/.567 in 18 games with the Astros this season.