Gurriel logs 1st hit at home in return vs. Rays

Gurriel logs 1st hit at home in return vs. Rays

HOUSTON -- Hampered by a hamstring injury during his first road trip as a Major Leaguer, Yulieski Gurriel returned to the Astros' lineup on Friday for his home debut against the Rays.

Gurriel went 1-for-3 as the designated hitter in the 5-4 walk-off win in only his second start since being called up on Sunday. After logging a single in the seventh inning for his first hit at Minute Maid Park, Gurriel was lifted for pinch-runner Tony Kemp. Gurriel had gone hitless since a notching a single in his MLB debut against the Orioles on Sunday.

Gurriel strained his right hamstring in his debut -- a 5-3 win at Baltimore -- before pinch-hitting on Monday and Wednesday against the Pirates. Gurriel did not play on Tuesday.

Gurriel's first big league hit

"It's always better to play every single day, but with the hamstring going on, we're being a little cautious," Gurriel said. "[I'm] back in it and ready to get comfortable, and play every day."

The 32-year-old Gurriel hit .500 in 49 games with the Cuban National Series club Industriales last season.

Along with the unfortunate timing of the strain, Gurriel is also adjusting to a new position. Rookie Alex Bregman has continued to excel at third base, where Gurriel has played most of his career.

"[It's] something new for me," Gurriel said. "In Cuba or in Japan, [designated hitter is] not a role that I ever had, so getting used to that now moving forward is important, but like anything else, I try to adapt to the new role."

Astros manager A.J. Hinch said he's going to try giving Gurriel a start at either third base or left field during this six-game homestand, but Hinch wants to be careful with Gurriel going forward, especially considering Gurriel, who signed with the Astros in mid-July, has only been with the club a little more than a month.

"Being cautious with him is just trying to learn him as a player and also understand that we're literally in mid-March if we were talking about a regular season," Hinch said. "This guy's only played a couple of weeks in the Minor Leagues as a 'Spring Training preparation' for the season.

"I am going to be cautious with him because his legs just haven't been underneath him the way they are in a normal regular season in an August type of situation."

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