The Astros have activated outfielder Michael Brantley from the 10-day injured list, as per a team announcement. Brantley will be available for tonight’s game against the Padres, as he will immediately take the roster spot opened after right-hander Josh James was placed on the 10-day IL. James is battling left hip discomfort.
Brantley is back after spending a minimal ten-day stint on the IL due to a right quad injury, though his activation comes as something of a surprise. Manager Dusty Baker said just yesterday that he was “not real optimistic” that Brantley would be activated as soon as he was eligible to return, though apparently the veteran slugger showed good enough progress during pregame drills today that the Astros felt comfortable putting him back on the 28-man roster.
Since stepping on the foot of Dodgers reliever Joe Kelly during a play at first base on July 29, Brantley has been bothered by foot and quad problems, though it wasn’t stopping him from continuing to produce at the plate. Brantley had been limited to DH duty, however, and Houston ultimately deciding an IL stint was necessary to get Brantley back in good enough health for regular outfield duty. That choice may have been spurred by the return of Yordan Alvarez, though with Alvarez now gone for the season due to knee surgery, the DH spot will again be available for Brantley or any other Astros players to get a partial rest day.
Brantley’s return brings some relief to an Astros lineup that is already without Alvarez, Alex Bregman, and Aledmys Diaz. Brantley has hit .286/.375/.446 over 64 PA this season, continuing the strong hitting that has defined much of Brantley’s career, though he has also dealt with his share of injuries over his 12 Major League seasons.
James’ injury seemed to arise on Thursday, as the righty had to be helped off the field after fielding a grounder during Thursday’s 10-8 Houston victory over the Rockies. The IL placement continues what has already been a rough season for James, who has struggled in both the rotation and bullpen to the tune of a 10.97 ERA over 10 2/3 innings.