Hinch exercising caution with Gomez

Hinch exercising caution with Gomez

KANSAS CITY -- Center fielder Carlos Gomez wasn't in the starting lineup for Thursday night's Game 1 of the American League Division Series against the Royals at Kauffman Stadium. The Astros are being cautious with the lingering effects of his strained intercostal muscle, though manager A.J. Hinch said Gomez would be in the lineup for Friday's Game 2 at 2:30 p.m. CT on FOX Sports 1.

"I'm a little sore, but tomorrow I'm going to be in," Gomez said. "My manager decided to give me a day."

Game Date Result
Gm 1 Oct. 8 HOU 5, KC 2
Gm 2 Oct. 9 KC 5, HOU 4
Gm 3 Oct. 11 HOU 4, KC 2
Gm 4 Oct. 12 KC 9, HOU 6
Gm 5 Oct. 14 KC 7, HOU 2

Gomez started Tuesday's AL Wild Card Game presented by Budweiser -- just his second start since Sept. 12 -- and led off the fourth inning with a solo homer off Masahiro Tanaka. He received treatment on Wednesday and Thursday.

"This guy's battling through some soreness, and I took it out of his hands and decided that I was going to play him one of these first two games," Hinch said. "I'm aiming for tomorrow. But we'll see how tonight goes. He's available and wants to play."

Hinch said that with the type of injury Gomez has, he's one swing away or one torqued throw away from a setback.

"So I'm trying to pick and choose when's the best opportunity to use him," Hinch said. "I didn't feel like today was that day, so I'm going to have him come off the bench. He's available. He'll probably find his way into the game. He'll be asking me to go into the game from the second inning on."

Gomez has never faced Game 1 starter Yordano Ventura but has good numbers against Game 2 starter Johnny Cueto (4-for-12).

"I'm proud of how he's going about it," Hinch said. "He's one of the toughest guys I've been around. To have him on our side and willing to fight through this is pretty cool."

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.