Astros place McCormick on IL, but Brantley’s return is getting closer

Mar 31, 2023; Houston, Texas, USA; Houston Astros left fielder Chas McCormick (20) prior to the game against the Chicago White Sox at Minute Maid Park. Mandatory Credit: Erik Williams-USA TODAY Sports

Astros place McCormick on IL, but Brantley’s return is getting closer

The vision issues that forced Chas McCormick to leave Friday’s game against the Texas Rangers in the third inning have cleared, but the Astros placed the center fielder on the 10-day IL on Tuesday due to low back soreness.

“He was working out Sunday, and his back tightened up,” Astros manager Dusty Baker said. “His vision is OK, but I don’t know how much longer we can afford to play short, so we got to try and get him right and get another person here.”

McCormick’s placement on the IL is retroactive to Saturday, so he is eligible to come off when the Astros are in Tampa on April 25. General manager Dana Brown said the team feels like he’ll be ready to play by then.

“I think he’s gonna be fine,” Brown said. “I talked to him, he was walking around fine in the trainer’s room. His energy was good, he’s still flexible, it’s just lower back tightness.”

McCormick has compiled a .275/.383/.500 slash line in 11 games this season. He’ll be replaced on the 26-man roster by infielder Rylan Bannon, who was claimed off waivers from the Cubs in December and was in Major League camp for the entirety of spring training.

“He’s got some power, for sure,” Brown said of the 26-year-old. “He would be sort of a third (option) at second base. You still have (Mauricio) Dubón, you still have (David) Hensley, but it gives Dusty (Baker) some flexibility late in the game if you want to pinch it for someone, and we have to move Dubón into center.” 

Bannon made his Major League debut with the Orioles last May and also played a game with the Braves.

Brown did have some positive news to report on the injury front Tuesday afternoon. Outfielder Michael Brantley, working his way back from right should surgery last August, could start a rehab assignment with Triple-A Sugar Land as early as Sunday.

“He’s hitting live BP, which is a good thing, and he’s going to be probably playing in his first game in Triple-A, maybe on the 23rd. Then after that, we’ll make an assessment of how he’s doing there, and then we’ll have some idea on when he’s going to return.”

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