Gattis likely to return during series vs. KC

Astros slugger has been out while recovering from offseason hernia surgery

Gattis likely to return during series vs. KC

MILWAUKEE -- The Astros expect to get slugger Evan Gattis back at some point during their upcoming series against the defending World Series champion Royals, which begins Monday at Minute Maid Park. Gattis, recovering from sports hernia surgery, is on a Minor League rehab assignment at Double-A Corpus Christi.

Gattis went 3-for-4 with a home run on Saturday, and he sent a one-word text message to Astros manager A.J. Hinch on Sunday morning that read: "Ready." Gattis has gone 5-for-12 in three games with the Hooks and took Sunday off. He will return to the lineup Monday in what could be his final game before heading to Houston.

"He's feeling pretty good and he went three days in a row for the first time, and one of the things we wanted to see was him being active on the bases," Hinch said. "An active game is what we wanted to see out of him. Once we get our organization back together, I'll meet with [general manager] Jeff [Luhnow] and our coaching staff and figure out if he can join us this next series."

The Astros wanted Gattis to take up catching once again this season, but the injury has put that on hold. He was primarily a catcher with the Braves in 2013-14, but was used mostly as a designated hitter last year without seeing any time behind the plate.

Hinch said Gattis will do extra catching work on the side and will eventually get into a game as a catcher.

"I want to keep that alive, and the most difficult decision we have is there's not enough time to build him up as a catcher without sacrificing at-bats in the big leagues for him," Hinch said. "Balancing that, how much can he contribute on offense and how much he changes our lineup versus building him up as a catcher and reintroducing that, that's a big challenge and that is one of the issues with the timing of the injury."

Gattis hit .246 last year with 11 triples, 27 homers and 88 RBIs in 153 games in his first year in Houston.

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.