SAY UNCLE: Michael Brantley returns to Astros camp

Oct 1, 2022; Houston, Texas, USA; Houston Astros outfielder Michael Brantley watches during batting practice before the game against the Tampa Bay Rays at Minute Maid Park. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

SAY UNCLE: Michael Brantley returns to Astros camp

His status for Opening Day is still uncertain.

Houston Astros LF/DH Michael Brantley returned to camp Monday after being away for several days due to a family matter. Brantley, who was already working his way back from surgery to repair a torn labrum, has not performed any baseball activities while he was away, according to Astros manager Dusty Baker.

According to Astros beat writer Chandler Rome of the Houston Chronicle, Baker stated Brantley’s availability for Opening Day is still undecided.

In four seasons with the Astros, Brantley has twice been an All-Star, with a cumulative .306 average, .368 OBP, and .832 OPS. All of those numbers are higher than his career averages. Brantley has generally batted second, putting a high contact, high on-base, low strikeout batter between Jose Altuve and Yordan Alvarez at the top of the Astros lineup.

The Astros will have some decisions to make should Brantley be unavailable for Opening Day, as the team has other outfielders that are also battling some issues.

LF/DH Yordan Alvarez has been dealing with hand soreness all spring, he received a scheduled day off from batting on Tuesday. The Astros expect Yordan to be available for Opening Day.

Outfielder Jake Meyers has been fighting through a hamstring injury, according to Baker, who expects him to be available to play Tuesday.

Also, starting pitcher, Lance McCullers Jr. threw for the second time on Monday since being shut down with a strained muscle in his forearm. McCullers is currently expected back in late April or early May.

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