Tucker progressing, gets ABs in Minors game

Tucker progressing, gets ABs in Minors game

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. -- Astros outfielder Preston Tucker, who is six months removed from surgery on his right shoulder, got three plate appearances in a Minor League game as the designated hitter on Monday. Tucker flied out to right field, flied out to center and drew a four-pitch walk.

Tucker, who underwent surgery on Sept. 21 to repair the acromion, a bony projection on the shoulder blade, will play in the field on Tuesday for the first time in a Minor League game, which should be a big step towards him getting in Grapefruit League action soon.

"He'll continue that over the next few days and start to work his way onto the field and be a full-fledged available player," manager A.J. Hinch said. "Once he gets a good, solid 10, 12, 15 at-bats in the Minor Leagues, he'll start to work his way into big league games. We don't have much time left, but it's very possible he could play in a Grapefruit League game."

Altuve set to see plenty of action with Astros

Meanwhile, Preston's younger brother, Kyle, ranked as the No. 2 prospect for the Astros by MLBPipeline.com, went 0-for-1 as a pinch-hitter and played right field in his second appearance in a Grapefruit League game against the Cardinals on Monday.

Bullpen shuffle
Hinch said relievers Will Harris and Tony Sipp will get their next action in Minor League games on the back fields, clearing up innings in Major League games for some of the pitchers who are battling for a spot on the Opening Day roster.

Harris will throw on Wednesday and Sipp in the next couple of days. Hinch said he'd like to see relievers Dayan Diaz, Jordan Jankowski and Tyson Perez -- all upper-level depth pieces -- pitch a little bit more in Grapefruit League games.

"We don't have the innings to get everything that we want and continue the program that [Ken Giles] is on," he said. "We want [Jandel Gustave] to pitch in 'A' games, [James Hoyt] to pitch in A games -- guys that are competing, and the other guys can go and get their work in."

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.