Houston Astros Boss Hints At Slugger’s Return This Week

The Houston Astros may be ready to bring back its struggling slugger, who has been in Florida for nearly a month.
Apr 5, 2024; Arlington, Texas, USA; Houston Astros first base Jose Abreu.
Apr 5, 2024; Arlington, Texas, USA; Houston Astros first base Jose Abreu. / Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
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Earlier this week, Houston Astros manager Joe Espada told reporters that struggling first baseman José Abreu hadn’t yet taken swings in a live game during his stint at the team’s training facility in West Palm Beach, Fla.

Well, on Sunday, Espada’s boss, general manager Dana Brown, told Sports Talk 790 in Houston something curious about Abreu’s availability.

Dan Mathews, who is a producer for Astros pre-game and post-game shows, posted that Brown said during the pre-game broadcast that Abreu could rejoin the team for their road trip to face the Oakland Athletics next weekend.

That means the slugger could be with the team as early as Friday. Mathews’ report didn’t indicate if that meant Abreu would be active to play, which would have roster implications since he isn’t on the 26-man roster.

Abreu voluntarily accepted the assignment to West Palm Beach on April 30 after the worst start of his career offensively. Houston was hopeful that the time away from the team would allow their 37-year-old former MVP to get his swing right.

When he left, he was batting .099 with a .269 OPS and just one extra-base hit in 22 games. He only drove in three runs and his lack of production was producing a drag on the lineup.

Without him, Jon Singleton has taken on primary responsibilities at first base, giving the lineup a bit of juice. While the 32-year-old is only batting .224, he has four home runs and 12 RBI.

The Astros have also given playing time at first base to their Gold Glove utility player Mauricio Dubón. There is even a thought that rookie Joey Loperfido could play there, though he hasn’t done that yet at the Major League level and only has a smattering of starts at first in the minors.

Abreu is in the middle of a three-year deal he signed last offseason.

He struggled mightily to start last year, but rebounded enough to slash .237/.296/.383/.679 with 18 home runs and 90 RBI. Still, his batting average was a dramatic drop from the .304 he hit with the Chicago White Sox in 2022.

He has not lived up to the expectations he set during his nine-year stint with the White Sox, where he batted .292 with 243 home runs and 863 RBI. He earned three All-Star Game berths, won three Silver Sluggers, was the 2014 American League Rookie of the Year and the 2020 AL Most Valuable Player.


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Matthew Postins

MATTHEW POSTINS

Matthew Postins is an award-winning sports journalist who covers the Texas Rangers, Philadelphia Phillies, Chicago Cubs and Houston Astros for Sports Illustrated/FanNation. He also covers he Big 12 for Heartland College Sports.