Bregman close to return as Astros meet Angels

MLB

Alex Bregman is expected to rejoin the Astros’ starting lineup soon, possibly as early as Friday when Houston begins a four-game series against the Los Angeles Angels at Anaheim, Calif.

Bregman has been out since Aug. 19 with a strained right hamstring.

Hamstrings have caused recurring issues for him over the past few years. He strained the same hamstring in April 2019, leading to him missing two games, and he missed two weeks with a strained hamstring in 2016.

Bregman has been working out at Minute Maid Park in Houston and is traveling with the team to Anaheim.

“Everything’s been going extremely well,” Bregman told reporters. “I’ve run up to 100 percent, taken swings, taken ground balls and feel good during all of it. Just trying to listen to our training staff’s advice, but I feel good, feel strong. Especially in that hamstring, I feel really, really good. The team doctors, the (physical therapists), the people down in Corpus (Christi), everybody has helped out a ton.”

Bregman will try to resume the roll he was on when he got hurt. He has hit safely in 17 of his last 18 games, including nine in a row. He went 4-for-15 with one homer and two RBIs in a three-game series against the Angels from July 31-Aug. 2.

While the Angels have all but fallen out of playoff contention, there are individual milestones within reach for Mike Trout and Albert Pujols. Trout has 13 homers this season and 298 for his career. He needs one more to tie Tim Salmon for the Angels’ all-time record.

It took Salmon 14 seasons, 1,672 games and 7,039 plate appearances to reach 299 home runs. Trout, who has reached 298 before turning 30 years of age, has done it in 10 seasons (including this shortened season), 1,233 games and 5,426 plate appearances.

“It’s incredible. It’s two fish and the depth we’ve gone to create home run hitters,” Angels manager Joe Maddon joked. “I know Timothy well. I was involved in signing him, and I’m very much aware of the number. This guy should’ve been an All-Star multiple times but had a difficult time getting off to good starts. What a great player. And now Mikey is catching up to him rather quickly.”

All-time home run leader Barry Bonds hit No. 300 at age 31 and 278 days; Trout won’t turn 30 until Aug. 7, 2021.

Pujols is one homer away from tying Willie Mays for fifth on the all-time list with 660. Pujols, though, hasn’t hit one since Aug. 4, covering 17-plus games and 71 plate appearances.

Pujols does have 60 career home runs against the Astros, the most he’s hit vs. any team. He also has more career hits (304) against Houston than against any other team.

Right-hander Lance McCullers Jr., 3-2 with a 5.06 ERA in seven starts this season, will start on the mound for Houston. He gave up four runs on six hits and four walks in a no-decision against the Angels on July 31 and is 3-3 with a 3.83 ERA against them in 12 career starts.

Right-hander Dylan Bundy, 4-2 with a 2.47 ERA this season, will start for Los Angeles. Bundy is 0-3 with a 4.91 ERA in six career games (five starts) against the Astros, but he hasn’t faced them this year.

Angels infielder David Fletcher, who played every inning of every game before rolling his left ankle on Sunday, was placed on the injured list Thursday.

–Field Level Media

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