Astros reinstate first baseman José Abreu from injured list

HOUSTON (AP) — The Houston Astros reinstated first baseman José Abreu from the injured list before their game Wednesday night against the Boston Red Sox.

He was batting sixth and playing first base as the Astros looked to win a third straight over the Red Sox.

Abreu has been out since Aug. 10 with lumbar spine inflammation. The 36-year-old had two cortisone shots in his back soon after he was placed on the injured list and said then that he'd been dealing with the issue on and off all season.

Abreu has underperformed in the first year of a three-year, $58.5 million contract, hitting just .234 with 10 homers and 56 RBIs. He went 2 for 21 in the seven games before he was placed on the injured list.

Manager Dusty Baker said the Astros hope his stint on the injured list will help the 2020 AL MVP get back on track.

“He’s looked better in batting practice than he has in a couple of months,” Baker said. “So, I think the time off helped him, helped his movement, helped his flexibility, which helps your bat speed ... so yeah, it'll be good to get him back and hopefully get him back (as) the guy we signed.”

Baker said they'll closely monitor him in his return and he'll likely play only every other day for a while.

While Abreu returned Wednesday, the Astros were without slugger Yordan Alvarez for a second straight game after he slammed his hand in a door and injured his left index finger Tuesday.

Baker said Alvarez was feeling much better Wednesday and they hope that he can return Thursday for the finale against Boston.

Infielder David Hensley was optioned to Triple-A Sugar Land to clear a roster spot for Abreu.