Correa, McCullers closer to rejoining Astros

SS looks 'great,' will take BP on field Tuesday; righty throws simulated game

Correa, McCullers closer to rejoining Astros

HOUSTON -- Injured shortstop Carlos Correa (thumb) and starter Lance McCullers Jr. (back) each took positive steps Sunday toward rejoining the Astros after extended stays on the disabled list.

Correa took batting practice off a high-speed pitching machine Sunday for the first time since tearing a thumb ligament July 17. He also fielded grounders again. Houston manager A.J. Hinch said the All-Star shortstop would take batting practice on the field Tuesday for the first time, adding that the team would consider sending him on a rehab assignment shortly thereafter.

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Ben DuBose is a contributor to MLB.com based in Houston. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Miscues prove costly, deny Astros sweep

Miscues prove costly, deny Astros sweep

HOUSTON -- Rookie center fielder Boog Powell sparked Oakland's offense and rookie right-hander Jharel Cotton pitched 6 2/3 strong innings, helping the A's deny the AL West-leading Astros a three-game sweep with a 3-2 win Sunday at Minute Maid Park.

Powell, acquired by the A's in the Aug. 6 trade that sent Yonder Alonso to Seattle, was 3-for-4 with a walk and a run scored.

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Richard Dean is a contributor to MLB.com based in Houston and covered the Athletics on Sunday.

Ben DuBose is a contributor to MLB.com based in Houston and covered the Astros on Sunday.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Hinch not worried about recent offensive funk

Astros have 8 runs in past 4 games, still lead MLB in runs

Hinch not worried about recent offensive funk

HOUSTON -- The Astros scored a combined 18 runs in two wins this week over the D-backs, seemingly back in form as the Majors' highest-scoring team. Those games ended a stretch in which Houston had lost six of seven.

But as soon as it seemed a corner was turned, the offense has again fallen upon relative hard times. Including Sunday's 3-2 loss to Oakland, the Astros have just eight runs in their past four games -- all at Minute Maid Park and all against opposing starters who entered with an ERA of above 4.50. They've gone 2-2 in those games.

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Ben DuBose is a contributor to MLB.com based in Houston/ This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Marisnick reveals story behind 'Big Fudge'

Astros outfielder to sport nickname on jersey for Players Weekend

Marisnick reveals story behind 'Big Fudge'

HOUSTON -- When he was on the disabled list while playing for the Marlins a few years ago, Astros outfielder Jake Marisnick had a tendency to satisfy his sweet tooth.

Marisnick was admittedly eating too much junk food, and his teammates -- including his close friend, Christian Yelich -- took notice, giving him the nickname "Big Fudge," which is also the nickname of a character named Marshall on the sitcom "How I Met Your Mother."

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

Fresh off gem, Morton out to tame Nats' bats

Fresh off gem, Morton out to tame Nats' bats

In a potential World Series preview, the teams with the second- and third-largest division leads will meet for a three-game Interleague series at Minute Maid Park. In Tuesday's series opener, the American League West-leading Astros will send out right-hander Charlie Morton opposite right-hander Tanner Roark and the National League East-leading Nationals.

"It's a big series because they're a good team," Astros manager A.J. Hinch said. "We've got to play clean baseball to beat them. They do a lot of things well, which is why they are where they are."

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Astros blank A's behind McHugh, double plays

Astros blank A's behind McHugh, double plays

HOUSTON -- Collin McHugh threw six scoreless innings to pick up his first win of the season, and the Astros turned a season-high six double plays to secure their fourth victory in five games, 3-0, over the A's on Saturday night at Minute Maid Park.

Marwin Gonzalez delivered a two-run, bases-loaded single in the fourth to back McHugh (1-2), who held Oakland to six hits (five singles) while benefiting from three double plays in six innings. Francisco Liriano, Joe Musgrove and Tyler Clippard each threw an inning to finish Houston's seventh shutout of the season.

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Brian McTaggart has covered the Astros since 2004, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter..

Christian Boutwell is a reporter for MLB.com based in Houston and covered the A's on Saturday.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Double takes: Astros turn season-high 6 DPs

Houston one shy of club record in shutout win over A's

Double takes: Astros turn season-high 6 DPs

HOUSTON -- One of the biggest reasons the Astros were able to shut out Oakland, 3-0, on Saturday night at Minute Maid Park was their defense. Houston turned a season-high six double plays, including one to end the game following a crew-chief review.

Six double plays are the most in a game for an American League team this season, falling just short of the Astros' club record of seven.

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

Astros toast '90s with 1997 division champs

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Astros toast '90s with 1997 division champs

It's time to break out the DunkAroos and jelly sandals ... the '90s are back, and they are better than ever. The Astros honored the 1997 NL Central championship team before they hosted the A's on Saturday, bringing out former manager Larry Dierker with members of the team on hand.

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Bregman stepping up while Correa sidelined

Third baseman homers, records 7 assists behind Keuchel

Bregman stepping up while Correa sidelined

HOUSTON -- Astros third baseman Alex Bregman figured he was in for a busy day at the ballpark.

With left-hander Dallas Keuchel pitching -- and inducing 16 groundouts in seven scoreless innings in a 3-1 win over the A's -- Bregman recorded seven assists in seven innings and belted his 14th homer to continue his second-half surge.

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

Yuli Gurriel met his adorable mini-me

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Yuli Gurriel met his adorable mini-me

 When Astros players take batting practice, they're locked in, serious, and paying no attention to anything around them except for their bats, the BP thrower, and positioning themselves properly in the cage.

Nah. Just kidding. While Astros hitters take their daily preparation seriously, they also know how to keep things light when they're getting ready for a game. Especially if they spot a youngster behind the ropes whom they find exceptionally adorable.

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Astros ride 2 jacks as Keuchel grounds A's

Astros ride 2 jacks as Keuchel grounds A's

HOUSTON -- Astros ace Dallas Keuchel is back to giving opponents a pain in the neck. Keuchel, making his fifth start since missing eight weeks with neck discomfort, turned in his second consecutive gem by throwing seven scoreless innings to lead the Astros to their third win in four games, 3-1, over the Athletics on Friday night at Minute Maid Park.

Keuchel (11-2) allowed three hits and one walk and forced the A's into 16 ground-ball outs, the highest by an Astros pitcher this season. It was his fourth career game with at least 15 groundouts.

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Brian McTaggart has covered the Astros since 2004, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter..

Christian Boutwell is a reporter for MLB.com based in Houston and covered the A's on Friday.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Armenteros flirts with no-no for Fresno

Armenteros flirts with no-no for Fresno

Now into his second month playing in the Florida State League, Vladimir Guerrero Jr. is finding his power stroke.

Guerrero, MLBPipeline.com's No. 6 overall prospect (Blue Jays' No. 1), connected on his second home run in as many games on Friday, going 2-for-4 with two RBIs as Class A Advanced Dunedin blanked St. Lucie, 4-0.

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Mike Rosenbaum is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @GoldenSombrero. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Astros make structural changes in scouting

HOUSTON -- In an effort to restructure their scouting department, the Astros informed at least eight scouts on Friday that their contracts wouldn't be renewed when they expire at the end of October. Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow on Friday confirmed a report the Astros were letting go of some scouts but wouldn't reveal how many or any names. MLB Network analyst Peter Gammons reported eight scouts wouldn't be back.

Sources told MLB.com Friday that among the scouts the team informed wouldn't be returning were pro scouts Tucker Blair, Tim Moore, Paul Gale and Mike Wickham, and amateur scouts Zach Clark, John Martin, Mark Ross and Nick Venuto. In addition, pro scout Hank Allen is contemplating a part-time offer from the club, according to a source.

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

Astros' hit-and-miss 'O' hopes to get healthy

Astros' hit-and-miss 'O' hopes to get healthy

HOUSTON -- MLB hits leader Jose Altuve is wondering what's off with his Astros over the past week. While scoring nine runs in back-to-back games against the D-backs, they were also shut out twice by Arizona -- including a 4-0 loss Thursday at Minute Maid Park -- and scored a total of 20 runs in their past five games, below their 5.71 runs per game this season.

"I see my guys play and they look good," Altuve said. "But if I see myself playing, I haven't been so good in the last five days. Even during the game, I was thinking about going home tonight and [thinking] about it."

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Christian Boutwell is a reporter for MLB.com based in Houston. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Astros unable to pick up Fiers vs. D-backs

Astros unable to pick up Fiers vs. D-backs

HOUSTON -- After the D-backs allowed nine runs to the Astros in consecutive games, left-hander Patrick Corbin restored order Thursday afternoon at Minute Maid Park.

Corbin came within one out from throwing his first career complete game as the D-backs rode his strong pitching and a pair of homers -- including an inside-the-park one by Daniel Descalso -- to blank the Astros, 4-0, and split the four-game, home-and-home series.

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Brian McTaggart has covered the Astros since 2004, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter and listen to his podcast.

Steve Gilbert has covered the D-backs for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter @SteveGilbertMLB.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Whitley dominates in Corpus Christi debut

Whitley dominates in Corpus Christi debut

If there was any doubt about whether Forrest Whitley was ready for the Double-A level, the teenage right-hander laid it to rest on Thursday by tossing six scoreless innings with a career-high 11 strikeouts in his debut for Corpus Christi.

Whitley, MLBPipeline.com's No. 40 overall prospect (Astros' No. 2), retired nine of the first 10 batters he faced in the outing. Seven of those outs came on strikeouts, as he struck out the side in the second and third innings and then once more in the fifth.

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Mike Rosenbaum is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @GoldenSombrero. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Getting DH back does Astros world of good

Getting DH back does Astros world of good

HOUSTON -- The Astros are glad to have their designated hitter back.

After capping a strenuous 2-6 road trip by splitting the first two of their four-game series vs. the D-backs in Arizona's National League park, Chase Field, they returned to cozy, hitter-friendly Minute Maid Park and got a 9-5 win over the D-backs with help from DH Carlos Beltran.

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Christian Boutwell is a reporter for MLB.com based in Houston. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Astros hold off D-backs after Morton's gem

Astros hold off D-backs after Morton's gem

HOUSTON -- Charlie Morton pitched a gem and the Astros held off a late power surge by the D-backs to win consecutive games for the first time this month with a 9-5 victory on Wednesday night at Minute Maid Park.

The Astros maintained their 12 1/2-game lead over the Angels in the American League West, while Arizona is one game behind Colorado atop the National League Wild Card standings, staying four games ahead of Milwaukee.

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Brian McTaggart has covered the Astros since 2004, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter and listen to his podcast.

Steve Gilbert has covered the D-backs for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter @SteveGilbertMLB.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MLB.com Columnist

Jonathan Mayo

Whitley leads Astros prospects on fast track

Whitley leads Astros prospects on fast track

In an ideal player development world, every prospect earns, and gets, an in-season promotion up a level. That prospect Shangri-La doesn't happen very often, but in the Astros' farm system in 2017, it's been pretty close.

The most recent example of this was the movement of two talented young arms up to Double-A Corpus Christi, No. 2 prospect Forrest Whitley and No. 10 Cionel Perez. Perez, the 21-year-old Cuban lefty, had a rough introduction to the Texas League on Wednesday. Whitley, the Astros' first-round pick in 2016, is just 19 and will make his debut at the level on Thursday.

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Jonathan Mayo is a reporter for MLBPipeline.com. Follow him on Twitter @JonathanMayo and Facebook, and listen to him on the weekly Pipeline Podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MLB.com Columnist

Richard Justice

Justice: Altuve focused on playoffs, not MVP

Star players focused on team accomplishments, not individual

Justice: Altuve focused on playoffs, not MVP

HOUSTON -- In the heat of playoff races, the Most Valuable Player Award is the last thing on players' minds.

"Only thing that would mean is we probably made the playoffs," D-backs first baseman Paul Goldschmidt said. "So that would have some meaning. Beyond that, it's not something that's on my mind at all."

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Richard Justice has been a reporter for MLB.com since 2011. Read his columns and follow him on Twitter at @RichardJustice. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Astros ride 5-run 2nd to victory over D-backs

Astros ride 5-run 2nd to victory over D-backs

PHOENIX -- The Astros scored early and often to set the tone and pave the way for a 9-4 victory over the D-backs on Tuesday at Chase Field.

The teams split the first two games of a four-game home-and-home Interleague set and will play two more times starting Wednesday in Houston.

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Jesse Sanchez, who has been writing for MLB.com since 2001, is a national reporter based in Phoenix. Follow him on Twitter @JesseSanchezMLB and Facebook.

Kaelen Jones is a reporter for MLB.com based in Los Angeles and covered the D-backs on Tuesday.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Nicknames, bright gear part of Players Weekend

New event to take place during all games from Aug. 25-27

Nicknames, bright gear part of Players Weekend

For the first time, there will be a "Dragon" pitching in a Major League Baseball game.

At least, that is what will be on the back of Astros reliever Chris Devenski's jersey. Devenski and other big leaguers will be taking part in the inaugural Players Weekend around the Major Leagues from Aug. 25-27. That weekend, the Astros will be in Anaheim to face the Angels for a three-game set.

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Fabian Ardaya is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Gurriel continuing to adjust in first full season

Gurriel continuing to adjust in first full season

PHOENIX -- Astros first baseman Yuli Gurriel won nearly every baseball award a player in Cuba's Serie Nacional could win. He was an international star there and is a star-in-the-making here.

But for all of Gurriel's experience at home and abroad, the veteran still can't figure out what time Carlos Correa wants to play video games -- specifically soccer -- each day.

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Jesse Sanchez, who has been writing for MLB.com since 2001, is a national reporter based in Phoenix. Follow him on Twitter @JesseSanchezMLB and Facebook. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Martes highlights dominant bullpen effort

Martes highlights dominant bullpen effort

PHOENIX -- The called third strike on D-backs second baseman Brandon Drury for the second out in the sixth inning officially registered at 98.8 mph, but the radar gun inside of Chase Field flashed 100 mph.

Drury didn't like the call. The next batter, Chris Herrmann, also went down looking, this time courtesy of an 87-mph curveball, and he shook his head on his way back to the dugout.

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Jesse Sanchez, who has been writing for MLB.com since 2001, is a national reporter based in Phoenix. Follow him on Twitter @JesseSanchezMLB and Facebook. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Astros want Verlander, but trade talks stalled

Astros want Verlander, but trade talks stalled

ARLINGTON -- Justin Verlander hasn't thrown his last pitch for the Tigers yet. He's set to make his scheduled turn in Detroit's rotation on Tuesday night against the Rangers. His fiancee, Kate Upton, will be watching, as will likely a scout from the Houston Astros. But while Verlander and Upton are ready to exchange vows in the future, there is no sign the Tigers and Astros are close to committing to a trade to send Verlander to Houston.

Jon Heyman of MLB Network reported that the Astros and Tigers were in talks regarding Verlander, then revised that report to note that they last talked last week. Nothing has changed since last week, when MLB.com's Jon Morosi reported that the two sides had talked. Those talks have seemingly stalled, leaving the teams still well apart.

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Jason Beck has covered the Tigers for MLB.com since 2002. Read Beck's Blog, follow him on Twitter @beckjason and Facebook. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Astros' offense held in check by D-backs

Astros' offense held in check by D-backs

PHOENIX -- The D-backs rapped out six doubles, at least three the result of some extra hustle, to back an outstanding pitching performance by Zack Greinke in a 2-0 win over the Astros at Chase Field.

Greinke (14-5) allowed five hits and struck out nine in 6 2/3 innings as he helped the D-backs remain in a tie with the Rockies for the two National League Wild Card slots.

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Jarrid Denney is a reporter for MLB.com and covered the Astros on Monday.

Steve Gilbert has covered the D-backs for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter @SteveGilbertMLB.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Clippard wastes no time connecting with Astros

Clippard wastes no time connecting with Astros

PHOENIX -- When Tyler Clippard received a call from White Sox general manager Rick Hahn on Sunday and was informed that he had been traded to the Astros, he decided he wanted to break the news himself for once.

Each time he had been traded in the past, Clippard had found out via some combination of news reports or social media. So when he got off the phone with Hahn, he immediately went to Instagram and changed his bio to "Play for the Houston Astros, love all things golf!"

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Jarrid Denney is a reporter for MLB.com and covered the Astros on Monday. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Giles comes up clutch with 6-out save

Closer bails Astros out of jam in 8th before shutting door on Rangers in 9th

Giles comes up clutch with 6-out save

ARLINGTON -- The first six-out save of Ken Giles' career couldn't have come at a better time for the Astros.

Giles pitched out of a messy jam in the eighth inning and worked around a one-out single in the ninth to preserve the Astros' nail-biting 2-1 win over the Rangers on Sunday at Globe Life Park, snapping a season-long five-game losing streak.

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