Valbuena has hamstring setback; season in doubt

Valbuena has hamstring setback; season in doubt

BALTIMORE -- Astros infielder Luis Valbuena had a setback with his strained right hamstring and was sent back to Houston to be reevaluated by team doctors.

Valbuena was working out in Baltimore with the hope he could begin a rehab assignment sometime during the current seven-game road trip.

However, Houston manager A.J. Hinch said Valbuena struggled to get through his latest workout Friday at Camden Yards. The hamstring had irritated Valbuena at a level the team had not seen in more than a week, and he was noticeably limping.

The more Valbuena rested and cooled down, the worse he felt, Hinch said. Therefore, the team decided it was best for him to head back to Houston.

"It's very concerning," Hinch said. "I'm not sure what this means or what the next step will be. But it's a significant enough step back that we have to send him back to Houston to get him evaluated."

Valbuena has batted .260 with 13 homers and 40 RBIs in 90 games with the Astros this season. He also managed a .357 on-base percentage, and Houston has gone 7-13 in his absence entering play Saturday against the Orioles.

It could be a challenge for Valbuena to return to the team this season, Hinch admitted.

"It's going to threaten the season based on where we are," Hinch said. "That's very disappointing. …. The No. 1 priority is to take care of him and make sure that he is well."

Marisnick remains sidelined

Astros center fielder Jake Marisnick is dealing with a right groin issue, and he was held out of the starting lineup for the second straight game.

Hinch said he is being cautious with the young outfielder, who could return Sunday for the series finale against the Orioles.

However, Hinch implied the team might just wait until Monday, when the Astros begin a three-game series in Pittsburgh. Marisnick has appeared in 80 games and is batting .215 with two homers and nine RBIs.

"He's not 100 percent and I'm not going to put him at risk," Hinch said. "I'm trying to give him as many days off. We can't afford to lose another player."

Teoscar Hernandez got the start Saturday in center field.

Todd Karpovich is a contributor to MLB.com based in Baltimore and covered the Astros on Saturday. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.