PHOENIX -- Saying he felt refreshed and ready following a week-long rehab stint at Double-A Corpus Christi, center fielder Carlos Gomez rejoined the Astros on Tuesday after being activated from the 15-day disabled list, where he landed with a bruised left rib cage.
Gomez was in the starting lineup in Houston's 8-5 win vs. the D-backs on Tuesday in the final game between the clubs at Chase Field, and he went 1-for-3 with an infield single.He figures to get more playing time in the next week to 10 days with the Astros facing a steady diet of left-handed pitchers, but manager A.J. Hinch hinted Gomez will have to perform to stay the lineup
"Playing time, in general, I want to be spread out a little more than it was at the beginning of the season," he said. "Performance is going to dictate some of that. We face some left-handed pitchers, which is naturally going to get Jake [Marisnick] and Carlos in the lineup at the same time [over lefty Colby Rasmus], but there's certainly a need to contribute."
Third baseman Colin Moran was optioned to Triple-A Fresno to make room on the 25-man roster for Gomez. Moran, who was called up when Gomez went on the DL, appeared in six games in his Major League debut and was 2-for-19, including 0-for-13 to start his career.
Gomez struggled mightily before being put on the DL. He was hitting just .182 with no homers and five RBIs, and he was prone to mistakes on the bases and in the field. He spent a few days rehabbing in Houston before hitting .250 with a homer in five games at Corpus Christi.
"I took those [five] games in Corpus and put my body in position. I can do my job better," Gomez said. "You know, work a little bit more, and I had the opportunity to play a few games and had 20 at-bats and continued to better my approach. Those couple of games there made me feel really good."
Hinch hopes to see the Gomez who doesn't try to do too much or overswing, because that's what gets him in trouble.
"The two weeks [on the DL] has probably done him good to go down and play and get healthy and get his mind away from the first couple of months of the season," Hinch said. "Honestly, I think the vibe in the clubhouse is good. It's been really good the entire time.
"It's important for us to understand we all have a small part in this, and that includes Gomez. As he returns, we don't need him to be anything more than himself and find a way to contribute. What we've noticed in the recent play is we have a number of guys who have stepped up and done a few things. If Gomez can come here and be a part of it, we'll be a better team."
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.