Martinez begins rehab, could return next weekend

Martinez begins rehab, could return next weekend

ANAHEIM -- Astros outfielder Fernando Martinez, who's been on the disabled list since March 27 with a strained left oblique, was in the lineup at designated hitter on Sunday for Triple-A Oklahoma City as he begins a Minor League rehab assignment.

The Astros are hoping to get Martinez, a left-handed bat with power, back in Houston in time for next weekend's series against the Indians.

"We want him to get a steady diet of at-bats until we come home, and we'll make a determination on the off-day [Thursday] whether or not he's ready, and if he is we'll figure out what the right move is," Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow said. "We always targeted the end of the road trip and beginning of the next homestand as the earliest possible date we could have him back. I'm hoping, based off what he does in the next couple of days, he'll show us he's ready."

Martinez was set to open the season on the 25-man roster, but he was injured in late spring and has been working out at extended spring camp in Kissimmee, Fla. Last season with the RedHawks, Martinez was a staple of the middle of the lineup, hitting .314 with 13 homers and 62 RBIs.

Brian McTaggart is a reporter for and writes an MLBlog, Tag's Lines. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.