Shoulder surgery ends Tucker's rocky year

Outfielder limited to 48 games with Astros; expected ready for spring

Shoulder surgery ends Tucker's rocky year

OAKLAND -- Astros outfielder Preston Tucker underwent surgery on his right shoulder Wednesday in Dallas to repair the acromion, a bony projection on the shoulder blade. He is expected to be ready for Spring Training, manager A.J. Hinch said.

Tucker, 26, appeared in 48 games for the Astros this year, hitting .164 with four homers and eight RBIs from the left side of the plate. He was a key player for the Astros a year ago, batting .243 with 13 homers and 33 RBIs in 98 games and went 2-for-3 with a walk in the American League Division Series.

Hinch said it will be a few months before Tucker is able to swing the bat.

"We do feel like we finally got to the bottom of what his pain was coming from," Hinch said.

Tucker was on the Astros' Opening Day roster before being optioned to Triple-A Fresno in mid-May after batting just .176. He returned in July, but couldn't find a rhythm at the plate. He was placed on the disabled list in August with a strained right shoulder and never made it through a rehab outing a few weeks later.

"It bothered him a little bit in the Minor Leagues before he got called back up, and he was able to tolerate it as long as he didn't swing and miss or have an awkward swing," Hinch said. "Once he got back up to the big leagues, it flared up again and he went on the DL.

"When he went on his rehab stint, he never really full resolved the inflammation and the soreness. We pulled him off the rehab and the next remedy after a couple of conversations was the surgery. It will be a long process for him in the winter, but we feel good about the fact we're starting the right process to mend him."

The Astros lack left-handed power, and with Colby Rasmus unlikely to return as a free agent next year, Tucker could still play a key role for the Astros in 2017.

"This season is pretty much a wash for him just because of how it went early for him," Hinch said. "He went down and worked on a few things in the Minors and then came back up and got hurt, so he'll have some work to do obviously, like a lot of our young players, to fight and make the team next spring, but when he's right he provides a nice bat for us to have."

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.