Gattis likely to start season on disabled list

DH still recovering from hernia surgery

Gattis likely to start season on disabled list

KISSIMMEE, Fla. -- Astros designated hitter Evan Gattis admitted Wednesday it's unlikely he would be ready for Opening Day. He's six weeks removed from having hernia surgery and appears likely to open the season on the disabled list.

Gattis is getting routine at-bats in the Minor Leagues on the back fields at Osceola County Stadium, but still isn't running 100 percent out of the box.

Astros Spring Training info

"I'm taking normal swings and everything, but running-wise and stuff like that, probably 70 percent," he said. "I really haven't hit the ball hard yet, so I haven't had a double or anything where I had to run in drills and stuff. I'm trying to push it as hard as I can, and the next day, every day I wake up, I've been feeling really good."

Astros manager A.J. Hinch said that, considering it's such a methodical process to get Gattis back into game shape without restrictions, such as stretching a single to a double, having him ready for Opening Day appears unlikely.

"There's a lot he has to do, and ...we're making sure he doesn't have any setbacks that are important," he said. "It's growing unlikely given we break camp a week from today, but that doesn't necessarily forfeit too much of the season. We have to make a decision here pretty soon."

Gattis can't appear in a Grapefruit League game after Friday without pushing back his availability into the regular season, so he'll likely keep getting at-bats in Minor League games. Hinch said the team still wants him to catch at some point.

"Regardless of what happens, I want him to do the work to be an option with the Interleague games as a catcher, to not just see himself as a DH only," he said.

Other notes from Wednesday:

• The Astros on Wednesday reassigned right-hander Brad Peacock to Minor League camp. Peacock, who had offseason back surgery, appeared in four games (two starts) and allowed nine hits, eight walks and six earned runs in 8 2/3 innings. He'll begin the season in the rotation at Triple-A Fresno.

"It was nice to have him back healthy and competing again," Hinch said. "It's difficult to miss virtually a full year and come back feeling comfortable and sharp again. I don't think he felt his best in terms of sharpness and utilizing his stuff, but being healthy and factoring in is an accomplishment at this point given the injury history he's had. Getting him regular work in Triple-A and having him be an option when and if we need him is the key component of it."

• Right-hander Lance McCullers, who will begin the season on the disabled list after suffering shoulder soreness two weeks ago, threw in the bullpen Wednesday for the first time since the injury and said he was encouraged.

"It was nice to get back on the mound, nice to be throwing again," he said. "I was actually probably cranked up a little more than I usually would in my bullpen sessions. In the season, midweek, it's more about working on stuff. Today I wanted to test it out and make sure I was good to go and, like I said, it couldn't have gone better."

Hinch said McCullers might travel with the team to New York for Opening Day and would likely start the season on a rehab assignment at Double-A Corpus Christi, because it's close to Houston. "I'd like him to be a part of Opening Day festivities because he's earned the right to be on our Opening Day roster," he said.

• Right-handed reliever Luke Gregerson, who reported to camp with a mild left oblique strain, threw in a Minor League game Wednesday and should make his Grapefruit League debut this weekend. Hinch said Gregerson was throwing all of his pitches without any hesitation.

"He had a good slider, good fastball," he said. "He was Luke Gregerson. He looked as if he was feeling really good and throwing pain-free or without any sort of hesitation, which we needed to see at this point in camp."

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.