Correa is expected to slot in as the Astros' primary No. 5 hitter to begin the regular season, Jake Kaplan of The Athletic reports. Kaplan suggests the Astros' batting order for Wednesday's Grapefruit League game is a good representation of the lineup the team will trot out for Opening Day against the Rays on March 28. While Kaplan acknowledges it's possible that Correa and Michael Brantley could swap spots versus left-handed starters, manager AJ Hinch will likely keep the lefty-hitting Brantley as the cleanup hitter versus right-handed pitching. That arrangement would help alleviate some of the stacking of the team's right-handed bats, as George Springer, Jose Altuve and Alex Bregman will fill the top three spots in the order.
Correa started at designated hitter and went 1-for-3 with a double in Friday's game against St. Louis. Correa, who was clearly hampered by a back issue late last season, played on consecutive days for the first time this spring. The next benchmark for the shortstop is playing in the field on consecutive days. He has two hits -- both for extra bases - in 10 Grapefruit League at-bats.
Correa said he feels good about where his body is at, Brian McTaggart of MLB.com reports. "My back feels great," the shortstop said. Correa said he wasn't able to hit the ball harder than 105 mph last season because of his back injury, but he's feeling good after scalding a double during Thursday's game against the Marlins that apparently came off the bat at 113 mph. "That made me feel good about where my body's at right now and where my swing's at," the 24-year-old said. He slapped another two-bagger in Friday's game against the Cardinals.
Correa went 1-for-2 with a double, an RBI and a run scored in Thursday's game against Miami. Correa managed to record his first base hit of the spring on an RBI double to center in the bottom of the first inning. He posted the worst batting average of his brief career in 2018 over 110 games (.239) and his power numbers dipped noticeably, although injuries played a role in his struggles at the dish.
Correa said he's participating in yoga three times a week to get more limber, Brian McTaggart of MLB.com reports. Correa was limited to 110 games in 2018 after spending six weeks on the injured list with a sore back. To combat continued discomfort, the shortstop worked on back-strengthening exercises during the offseason, including yoga. He looked good during his first batting-practice session Saturday, squaring up several balls on the back fields at training camp. "I don't think last year I hit a baseball like that after I got hurt," Correa said. "It feels good to be back and be healthy." Coming off an All-Star campaign in 2017, Correa batted .239/.323/.405, which was heavily influenced by his .517 OPS in 133 at-bats following his return from the injury. "Last season is behind me, but I learned a lot from it," Correa said. "I learned so many things from my injury last year, and this year my main focus is I already showed up ready in spring training. I'm not going to overdo it and I'm going to go out there and do what's necessary so I perform on Opening Day and play in 160 games."
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