The Houston Astros will option veteran first baseman José Abreu to their Florida Complex League team in West Palm Beach, general manager Dana Brown announced Tuesday. Abreu, by virtue of having more than five years of Major League Service, had the power to reject any optional assignment. Instead, he consented so that he could work on his timing in a low-stakes environment.

"We met with José on this, and we both agree that this move will be good for him and for the team in the long run," Brown said in a statement. "We are confident that a change of scenery and a new environment will help him get his rhythm and timing back. José is a team-first guy, and we applaud him for this. We know what this guy can do, and we're confident in his determination and work ethic."

While sending players from the big-league roster to the complex league is rare, it does happen on occasion when the player is clearly in need of an overhaul and/or some time away from the spotlight. Just last season, the Toronto Blue Jays sent right-hander Alek Manoah to the complex league in an attempted reset

The Astros will not demote Abreu until tomorrow. As such, they'll play with a 25-man squad against the Cleveland Guardians on Tuesday night. Houston did make a few other roster moves ahead of Tuesday's contest, placing utility infielder Grae Kessinger on the injured list because of right shoulder discomfort, designating reliever Joel Kuhnel for assignment, and promoting Joey Loperfido for his big-league debut. (Loperfido posted a 1.106 OPS in 25 games at Triple-A Sugar Land.)

Abreu, 37, is off to a miserable start to the season. In 22 games, he's batted .099/.156/.113 (-20 OPS+) with no home runs, three RBI, and 15 more strikeouts than walks. Per FanGraphs' wRC+ measure, a statistic that accounts for ballpark and other variables, Abreu had been the least productive hitter in all the majors this season, minimum 50 trips to the plate.

Between 1901 and 2023, only two players hit below .100 in April (minimum 75 plate appearances): Don Baylor in 1981 and Greg Vaughn in 2002.

Abreu, in the second of a three-year pact worth more than $58 million, is sporting would-be career-worst figures in several advanced metrics, including average and maximum exit velocity and strikeout and walk rates.

Astros first-year skipper Joe Espada had responded to Abreu's struggles by mixing in more Jon Singleton. Alas, Singleton himself had struggled to perform up to par for a first baseman, batting .238/.319/.286 (79 OPS+) with two extra-base hits in 16 games.

The Astros are off to a dreadful start, entering play on Tuesday with a 9-19 mark that puts them 6 1/2 games back in the American League West.