Robin Carlin: Deshaun Watson guaranteed to be ready by training camp

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Watson is just 3 months out from ACL surgery and ahead of schedule. Tim Warner/Getty Images

Texans QB Deshaun Watson was making the rounds at Radio Row on Wednesday and told several media outlets that he hopes to be back at OTAs this April, and guaranteed to be ready by training camp.

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They can't afford to waste any time. Composite Getty Image.

After another series loss over the weekend, the Astros have Monday off to regroup as they have the Cubs up next on the schedule before they head to Mexico City to play the Rockies.

So far for the Astros this season, nothing is coming easy and the injury bug continues to bite the club. The Astros got Justin Verlander back over the weekend, but loss Cristian Javier to the injured list with neck discomfort.

Hunter Brown pitched for Javier on Sunday and surrendered three runs before recording his first out. It's hard to imagine he'll be in the starting rotation when Framber Valdez, Jose Urquidy, and Cristian Javier return from the IL.

With the Astros currently sitting at 7-16, it's difficult not to point the finger and play the blame game. And there's plenty of it to go around. Let's start with the back of the bullpen. Ryan Pressly and Josh Hader have been a disaster. They are the highest-paid pitchers in the 'pen, and no lead seems safe when they enter the game.

We can blame the offense for struggling with runners in scoring position all we want, but if the team can't hold a lead, they're not going to win many games. The middle relief hasn't been the problem, Seth Martinez, Rafael Montero, and Tayler Scott all have ERAs under three. Who saw that coming? Pressly and Hader both have an ERA over eight and are killing the team late in games.

On the bright side, these are players with a long history of success. If they can get back on track and get healthier in the starting rotation, the pitching should be okay. But they are running out of time. They're just lucky they play in the weak AL West.

The elephant in the room

Astros GM Dana Brown addressed Jose Abreu's putrid start to the season in an interview with Astros broadcaster Robert Ford over the weekend.

Thankfully, Brown did not go with the “back of the baseball card” excuse. He acknowledged that they can't keep playing him every day and hoping he gets better. They're going to give some other guys some playing time at first base and hope Abreu figures it out because, “…he's got to climb out of it or else we're going to have to mix and match because it's tough to keep going in that direction.”

Finally! The dude is hitting .068! And this team has no margin for error. If they don't snap out of it soon, they are not making the playoffs. The problem here is there aren't a lot of good options at first base. Jon Singleton is hitting .229 with zero home runs and zero RBIs. I wouldn't mind seeing Yainer Diaz play some first base and let Victor Caratini catch more often. And considering Abreu's struggles on defense, (4 errors already) would Diaz be that much of a downgrade? Caratini isn't a plus offensive player (.276 batting average this season), but he's a way better option than what Abreu is giving you. Mauricio Dubon could also be an option at first, but it doesn't look like the team is considering that at the moment.

We all hoped the version of Abreu we saw in the playoffs would carry over to the 2024 season, but it just hasn't happened. We're disappointed about it, but not surprised. Which brings us to Alex Bregman. He's a notorious slow starter, we get it. But how long can he continue to hit third or fourth in the lineup?

Can't we move him down a couple of spots in the order until he starts producing? He's hitting .213 with zero home runs on the season.

Be sure to watch the video above as we address all the issues that are plaguing the Astros, and identify some solutions that could help turn things around!

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