OAKLAND -- Astros outfielder Dexter Fowler doesn't appear to be close to returning to action, and it's not a stretch to assume that he won't be available until after the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline.
Fowler, who's been on the disabled list since June 27 with a right intercostal strain, still hasn't swung a bat or picked up a ball, which means he's got a long way to go before he returns to the lineup. That's especially true considering he would need to have a Minor League rehab assignment before being activated.
"I'm getting better," said Fowler, who's still traveling with the club. "Each day, I'm starting to feel a little bit better."
When asked if he knew when he would be ready for a Minor League rehab, Fowler said: "Nah, I don't have a clue."
Fowler has played in only 76 games and was hitting .270 with six homers, 24 RBIs and a .377 on-base percentage. George Springer took over for him in center field, but now Springer is on the DL with a quad strain. Outfielder Alex Presley is on the DL with an oblique strain.
Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow hinted Fowler would be brought along slowly.
"With this type of injury, it can clear up quickly and it also tends to linger," he said. "We're going to take it easy until there's no symptoms, and then we'll send him out on rehab and he'll have a chance to get his bat going again and come back here, but I don't expect that to be during this road trip [which ended Thursday]. I think it will be sometime during this homestand."
The Astros open a 10-game homestand Friday against the Marlins.
Brian McTaggart is a reporter for MLB.com 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.