Astros getting close to full strength with key players returning from injury


Astros Dusty Baker
Dusty Baker is about to have a full complement of weapons to choose from. Composite image by Brandon Strange.

The Houston Astros have done a terrific job this season of battling through significant injuries to the ball club. And it appears their patience is being rewarded, with Jose Abreu (back) officially off the IL and starting at first base in Wednesday's lineup.

Phil Maton (right elbow contusion) is also expected back as soon as the end of upcoming Tigers series, which starts this Friday, after throwing a successful bullpen session this week.

Michael Brantley (shoulder surgery) could soon join the club as well. Brantley is set to play for the second straight day/game for Sugar Land on Wednesday night, and if all goes well, we should know something soon, according to Astros GM Dana Brown. Fingers crossed.

Brown also discussed the status of Yordan Alvarez (sore finger) on the team's flagship station on Wednesday. He said Yordan is day-to-day, and the injury is nothing serious. Dana even said we could see Yordan pinch-hitting Wednesday or Thursday. The team was concerned that the soreness and swelling could cause some bad habits when swinging the bat.

Watch out MLB if the Astros get fully healthy for the stretch run.

Most Popular

Will all the Texans playmakers be satisfied with their roles in the offense? Composite Getty Image.

ESPN Texans reporter DJ Bien-Aime joined The Mina Kimes Show this weekand shared his thoughts on the Texans outlook this season.

When looking at the Texans offense, Bien-Aime pointed to Houston's play calling as being a possible issue in 2024. Bobby Slowik did a terrific job in his first season as an offensive coordinator. But he will have his hands full keeping all his playmakers happy with Stefon Diggs joining the team, and Nico Collins expecting a ton of looks after signing a massive contract extension.

Which got us thinking, are there enough catches to go around?

We took a deep dive into the 2023 numbers and here's what we found. CJ Stroud averaged 21 completions per game. And here's a breakdown of how many catches his receivers averaged last year.

Nico Collins 5.3 catches per game

Stefon Diggs (with Buffalo) 6.29 catches per game

Dalton Schultz 3.93 catches per game

Tank Dell 4.27 catches per game

Texans running backs 3.05 catches per game

If we add those up, the total is 22.84. Which means the Texans top receivers should expect a similar amount of production compared to last season. Of course, players like Noah Brown, Robert Woods, and Brevin Jordan will take targets away from Stefon Diggs and company from time to time.

But it's good to know that the Texans top pass catchers should produce numbers close to their 2023 averages. Which is a big deal for a player in a contract year like Diggs.

Another thing to note. We're factoring in that the Texans are expected to run out of 11 personnel most of the time. Which means Diggs, Collins, Dell, Schultz, and Mixon will be the only pass catchers on the field the majority of the time.

Are there concerns about the defense?

Both Kimes and Bien-Aime designated Houston's secondary as the big x-factor this year. Bien-Aime named cornerback Derek Stingley Jr. as the only player in the secondary that he truly trusts. Is he right?

Be sure to watch the video above as we react to Kimes and Bien-Aime's outlook for the Texans this year, and share our thoughts on the possible pitfalls the team will have to navigate in the short and long-term.

Most Popular

SportsMap Emails
Are Awesome

Listen Live

ESPN Houston 97.5 FM