Astros' Alex Bregman gets brutally honest about health

Alex Bregman is back in a big way. His new documentary reveals how he got here. Composite image by Jack Brame.

When Houston Astros All-Star third baseman Alex Bregman absolutely crushed a deep-left-field home run on September 7 against the Seattle Mariners, the blast was more than just a game-tying play. It signaled the return of one of the most valuable players in major league baseball.

"That homer felt like, 'Yup, that's you. You're back,'" Bregman tells CultureMap. "It felt right. Those are the moments when you're ready to shine the brightest."

Bregman has been shining brightly since being sidelined with a serious leg injury (quadriceps). Gone from the team nearly the entire summer (June 16-August 25), the home-run slugger, ace infielder, and fan favorite rehabbed with the team and in the minor leagues with the Sugar Land Skeeters before making a triumphant return.

Now, in a stark, revealing documentary (not typical in the MLB), Bregman reveals the pain, frustration, and "grind" that the often grueling recovery took in No Sunshine: Reset. Rebuild. Rise.

In the new film, produced by Bregman, his partner Tyler Straub, and Will Stout through PHW Productions, fans can expect a quick-moving, brutally honest tale of work and recovery—not to mention a veritable clinic in what it takes to hit in the major leagues.

CultureMap caught up exclusively with Bregman to talk No Sunshine, his road back, and a season that almost wasn't.

CultureMap: Congratulations on your big return, the homers, and your documentary. Why was it important to you to invite fans and viewers into your personal and professional journey?

Alex Bregman: Thank you. I wanted to show everybody what we go through to get back to form from an injury and how brutal this injury really was—just the realness of the injury.

CM: This was so much more than just a leg injury. Can you take us back to how it all started?

AB: In 2020, I had a hamstring tear on my left side that I came back from, and just this last offseason, I had a hamstring on the other side. I hurt that hamstring again right before spring training ended. I kind of limped into the season this year.

Your body starts to compensate. Next thing you know, a month into the season, I hurt my left quad and we really had to just start from the ground up. We had to address every imbalance in my body — hips, hamstrings, quads, glutes — and start from scratch. That takes time and a lot of grind.

Right when we started out in the initial rehab assignment, I was worried more about running than I was about playing baseball. My second crack at it, I got back and said, 'you know what, my legs are healthy, I gotta trust it. Let's go.'

CM: "Let's go" is definitely an A-Breg motto, but you didn't always feel that way during the filmmaking process.

AB: Yeah, two or three times I was like, 'we're not gonna film this — let's shut it down and focus on rehab.' Somehow, Will kept the camera rolling and I didn't break it. [Laughs.] He captured the good, the bad, and the ugly — and all the people who helped me along the way.

CM: Speaking of all those people, you've been quick to point out that this was a team effort to get you back.

AB: My trainer Jeremiah Randle oversaw the process, but yeah, everybody from our big-league training staff to our Triple-A strength and conditioning staff helped out so much. It was a long rehab, but we made it a lot shorter than it should have been.

CM: Rarely in sports do you see athletes reveal this part of their career — maybe in the NFL with Hard Knocks. But almost never in major league baseball.

AB: I don't really know if this has been done before in baseball. I think baseball is finally opening up to letting the fans and showing them everything: uncut, unfiltered — here's what we go through on a daily basis.

CM: Excuse the pun, but your documentary really goes 'inside baseball' in regards to hitting. Can you describe the importance of lower-body strength in your game?

AB: You want to stay in the ground when you hit. You don't want to feel weak and be moving everywhere and be opening up when you shouldn't be opening up, or zigging when you should be zagging.

You have to be in your legs when you're hitting. It's finally nice to be in my legs again.

CM: Without naming names, many in your position on other teams would've just looked at all the injuries and just come back the next year.

Continue reading on CultureMap to learn more.

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Jeremy Pena could have some big shoes to fill. Photo by Eric Espada/Getty Images.

MLB and the MLBPA are embroiled in yet another labor dispute. The owners and players have both dug in their heels and refuse to budge. No end is in site for the lockout as Spring Training is drawing more and more near each passing day. So what does that mean for our 2022 Astros' season?

One sigh of relief came when Justin Verlander signed his new deal. Two years for $50 million dollars isn't bad at all. Factor in he's closer to my age than my son (coming off Tommy John surgery), and some may worry. Not me. He's the closest thing to Tom Brady MLB has seen since Nolan Ryan. Jim Crane and James Click did a great job bringing him back. His spot as the ace with the rest of the staff they have should help shore up the bullpen if one or two starters can make that transition. I know I said I didn't want him back a few months ago, but time has passed, and wounds have been healed.

When it comes to Carlos Correa, I'm growing more and more comfortable with the thought that he may not be back. I talked about his potential replacement months ago. Maybe the reason being is that the club loves Jeremy Peña at that same position, and Pedro Leon could also factor in. Plus, Peña is tearing the cover off the ball in the winter leagues.

At 24 years old, turning 25 in September, he'll be under team control for the foreseeable future. That truly depends on the new labor agreement. So does Correa's new contract. His contract will be largely based on the parameters set in the new labor agreement, since he didn't sign before the lockout took place. And now we know that contact will be negotiated by Correa's new agent, Scott Boras.

I'm all for the doom and gloom when it comes to an MLB labor issue because they've historically screwed over fans. The most notable and egregious was the '94 World Series being canceled. However, there's way too much money at stake right now. More money than ever to be exact. That said, it's precisely why there's a dispute. That, and the fact that the owners have always gotten over on fans and players, and the players are poised to get their just due.

When the season starts, the Astros should be contenders yet again. Don't look for them to come out the gate firing on all cylinders as this team may look a bit different. Guys may not be fully ready after a lockout and there will be some roster turnover. The bulk of the core will be here, ready, and healthy. Whether Correa is a part of that group remains to be seen. Am I concerned? Hell no! This team has enough to fill that void at least partially and will have either guy under team control for a while. Think about this upcoming season as the time you fixed up your older car. New tires, headlights restored, rims polished, inside made over, and a fresh coat of paint after the transmission rebuild. It still has over 150,000 miles on it, but you wouldn't trade it in for anything because it still runs well and has sentimental value. You know one day it'll give out and need to be put out to pasture, but you're holding on and riding until the wheels fall off. Enjoy Astro fans, because the ride will be over one day. Hopefully much later than sooner.

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