Astros hopeful Gomez will not need DL stint

Astros hopeful Gomez will not need DL stint

HOUSTON -- The Astros believe they have avoided putting outfielder Carlos Gomez on the disabled list. Gomez, who injured his left ribcage diving for a ball in the outfield on Friday in Oakland, wasn't in the lineup on Monday against the Twins for the third game in a row, but he did go through pregame drills.

Manager A.J. Hinch didn't rule out Gomez possibly getting into Monday's game and said he should at least play at some point during the series.

"[He'll play] unless something happens between now and over the next couple of days, unless he irritates it in some capacity," Hinch said. "We've taken a positive step forward to think this series, he's going to play."

Gomez has struggled this season, hitting .213 with only two RBIs through the first 25 games. He's also run into some mistakes on the bases, including trying to stretch a double into a triple for the first out in the ninth inning of Friday's game.

The Astros have only three outfielders on the roster other than Gomez -- Preston Tucker, Colby Rasmus and George Springer -- so they are nearing a decision about putting Gomez on the DL if he is going to miss an extended amount of time.

• Right-hander Lance McCullers could rejoin the rotation within the next week to 10 days. McCullers, who's been rehabbing from soreness in his shoulder since Spring Training, threw 62 pitches in 4 2/3 innings in his start in extended spring training on Monday in Kissimmee, Fla.

Hinch said McCullers' velocity was between 92-97 miles per hour and that he left the game feeling encouraged. If McCullers responds well on Tuesday to this latest outing, he will start at Triple-A Fresno on Saturday, when the Grizzlies are in El Paso.

"It was the best day to date for Lance, and it sets him up nicely," Hinch said. "It's almost an end-of-Spring Training start to where now he can go out to an affiliate. He'll be in Triple-A provided everything goes well in the next couple of days. Recovery's always a question, and we want to make sure he feels good tomorrow. I was thrilled to get that information that today went so well for him."

It's possible that McCullers could be activated after just one start with Fresno, though the Astros aren't going to push him. He's built up to the point where he could stretch his pitch count into the 80s on Saturday, which would make him available to join the Astros.

"I think the quality and the quantity is going to be the question," Hinch said. "We'll start with one and see where it goes."

Worth noting: Hinch said that rookie right-hander Chris Devenski will start on Thursday against the Mariners at Minute Maid Park. Devenski allowed two runs on five hits in five innings in his first big league start, on Friday against the A's in Oakland.

Brian McTaggart has covered the Astros since 2004, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.