Swinging remains issue for Astros' Gomez

Swinging remains issue for Astros' Gomez

SEATTLE -- Injured outfielder Carlos Gomez took early batting practice at Safeco Field on Monday and continues to progress, though not to the point that the Astros are comfortable putting him in the lineup. Gomez, who's been out of the lineup since Sept. 12, still isn't fully recovered from his intercostal injury.

Gomez entered Sunday's game as a pinch-runner and scored a run on a passed ball, but he's still experiencing some discomfort swinging a bat. 

"Carlos did the most he's done since he's been injured," Astros manager A.J. Hinch said Monday. "He's still not ready, but closer, and the day-to-day dilemma of when to increase his activity is something we're thinking about every day and looking at. He swung in batting practice today. Looking better and better, but not quite himself yet. We'll give him another day and assess him on a daily basis."

Hinch said Gomez -- who laid down a sacrifice bunt in Monday's 3-2 win over the Mariners -- feels a little bit of discomfort when he finishes his swing. The swings he took on the field Monday were harder than he's done in the past few days. They weren't Gomez's typical forceful swings, however.

"He's very frustrated, because he wants to help his team," Hinch said. "He's so electrifying when he came off the bench yesterday ... but he just wants to play. He's guy who's used to playing virtually every game every year. This isn't an injury he's had before. He's very tentative in understanding what he's feeling. This time of year, if you don't want to be in the lineup, then something is wrong with you."

Hinch said it typically takes 45-50 days to recover from an injury like Gomez's. The 29-year-old became injured taking batting practice prior to a Sept. 13 game in Anaheim.

"We're not even far into the complete healing process, but the time of the year and the intensity of these games is why we're even considering [having him return] at all," Hinch said.

Gomez is hitting .234 with nine doubles, four homers and 13 RBIs in 38 games since coming to the Astros. Acquired in a trade with the Brewers in July, he had hit safely in 14 of his last 16 games, batting .306 with seven doubles, three homers, nine RBIs and a .362 on-base percentage.

Brian McTaggart is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, Tag's Lines. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.