Astros get Carlos Lee back Sunday

Astros first baseman Carlos Lee has been activated from the disabled list, the club has announced. He had been shelved with a hamstring strain since June 1. The Astros play the Rangers in Texas Sunday and Lee is starting as the designated hitter.

Lee, 35, is hitting .297/.348/.411 with four homers, 23 RBI, 18 runs and more walks (15) than strikeouts (10) in his 49 games this season. He collected five hits in 10 rehab at-bats, including one home run.

He's obviously a big presence in the middle of the Astros' batting order, but there's something more important to getting him back at this point: Trade value.

The Astros are under new ownership and also have a new general manager. They entered Sunday down 10.5 games in the NL Central and -- especially with moving to the AL West next season -- are in the midst of a rebuild. Lee turns 36 in three days and is a free agent at the end of the season.

So, yes, it's rather obvious that Lee will likely be on the trading block next month. He'll now have a few weeks to prove his worth a rental for any club that might be interested in a first base or DH upgrade. It's worth noting that Lee has a limited no-trade clause and he's said to have little interest in moving to a large market on either coast (via Danny Knobler).

As a corresponding move to Lee's activation, Brett Wallace was optioned back to Triple-A.

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