REAL TALK WITH BREGGY

Astros' Alex Bregman gets brutally honest about health

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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Astros drop the series to the Angels. Composite Getty Image.

Rookie Kyren Paris hit a two-run shot for his first major league home run and Tyler Anderson pitched eight strong innings to lead the Los Angeles Angels to a 2-1 win over the Houston Astros on Wednesday.

The Angels took two of three games from the Astros to give them three straight road series wins in a single season for the first time since 2019.

Anderson (5-4) allowed six hits and one run in his third consecutive win, which came in his longest start of the season. Luis García struck out two in a scoreless ninth for his third save.

Mickey Moniak walked with one out in the fifth inning before Paris launched an off-speed pitch from Hunter Brown (1-5) off the wall in left-center field to make it 2-0.

Jake Meyers opened the bottom of the inning with a walk before scoring on Mauricio Dubón’s double to the corner of left field to cut the lead to 1. But Dubón was thrown out trying to stretch the hit into a triple.

Meyers and Dubón hit consecutive singles with two outs in the seventh and Meyers advanced to third on the play after an error by left fielder Taylor Ward. Anderson escaped the jam when Victor Caratini grounded into a force out to end the inning.

Brown gave up two hits and two runs while walking three in six innings.

Paris walked with one out in the third and advanced to third on a single by Nolan Schanuel. Luis Rengifo hit a grounder to Jose Altuve and his throw home was just in time for Caratini to tag a sliding Paris at the plate.

The Angels challenged the call, but it was upheld.

Houston’s Jeremy Peñahit a ball that bounced off the wall in left field with two outs in the fourth that initially was called a homer. But umpires reviewed the call, and it was changed to a double.

Los Angeles shortstop Zach Neto left the game with two outs in the sixth inning with right elbow soreness. Luis Guillorme entered the game to play second base and Paris moved from second to shortstop to replace Neto.

ABREU’S NEXT STEP

Struggling first baseman José Abreu is scheduled to play two games for Triple-A Sugar Land this weekend before returning to the Astros. The move comes less than a month after the 2020 AL MVP agreed to be optioned to the minors to work on his swing.

Abreu batted .099 with just one extra-base hit and three RBIs in 22 games this season before his demotion.

Manager Joe Espada said the Astros want Abreu to play a full nine innings in the games this weekend to prepare for his return to the majors.

UP NEXT

Angels: Los Angeles is off Thursday before hosting Cleveland in the opener of a three-game series Friday night, when LHP Patrick Sandoval (2-6, 4.59 ERA) opposes LHP Logan Allen (5-2, 4.91).

Astros: Houston is also off Thursday before opening a series at Oakland on Friday night with Justin Verlander (2-2, 3.97) on the mound. The Athletics haven’t named their starter.

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