Correa easing into drills after oral surgery

Correa easing into drills after oral surgery

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. -- Still recovering from having four wisdom teeth removed, Astros shortstop Carlos Correa is slowly working his way into baseball drills. On Tuesday, Correa worked out at the team's complex, where he took about 50 swings in the cage and said he felt good.

"I'm still a little sore, obviously, because it was kind of like a surgery, but I'm feeling better. It's pain I can tolerate, and I can go out there and do most of the work."

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Correa had the teeth removed on Thursday and has been held out of team drills while he waits for the pain to subside. He said he was going to play catch on Tuesday and hit in the cage, but he's still not cleared to do defensive work on the field.

When asked if he would be available to play in Saturday's Grapefruit League opener against the Tigers in Lakeland, Fla., Correa was hopeful.

"I want to be out there, especially getting ready for the [World Baseball Classic]," he said. Correa is one of eight Astros players set to leave camp in a couple of weeks to play in the Classic. He'll represent Puerto Rico, along with Carlos Beltran. Most of the club's World Baseball Classic participants are scheduled to leave camp on March 6.

Getting with the program
While most of the Astros' pitchers had thrown at least one round of batting practice through Tuesday, starters Collin McHugh, Lance McCullers Jr. and Dallas Keuchel remain on their own individualized throwing program and have been limited to bullpen work.

McCullers and Keuchel, of course, finished last year injured, and with an extended spring this year because of the World Baseball Classic, the Astros aren't in any rush with their program. Both are healthy and expected to make five starts later in Grapefruit League play.

All three pitchers should throw BP in the next few days.

"They're not too far behind where I expect them to be," manager A.J. Hinch said. "I'm happy with where they are. They've both thrown multiple times off the mound, they're running through the full gamut of PFPs and team fundamentals, and there's been no limitations on them."

Facing hitters for the first time since he tore his hamstring last April, newcomer Charlie Morton was among those to throw batting practice on Tuesday for the first time. He said he threw a ton of sinkers into lefties and a changeup to a righty. He didn't throw any curveballs.

"It's coming out good," he said.

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.