Astros’ Cor­rea deal­ing with back prob­lem.

The Dallas Morning News - - Sports Day - Kristie Rieken, The Associated Press

HOUS­TON — Car­los Cor­rea is in pain.

Ev­ery swing and miss hurts, and on the bad days it can even be un­com­fort­able for the Hous­ton Astros star short­stop to walk.

Cor­rea of­ten puts on a brave face but told The Associated Press how much this is af­fect­ing him as the Astros pre­pare to leave for Bos­ton and the be­stof-7 AL Cham­pi­onship Se­ries that be­gins Satur­day.

“You’re a com­peti­tor, so ev­ery time you step on the field you play it off like every­thing is fine,” he said Wed­nes­day. “But ob­vi­ously you’re hurt­ing.”

Cor­rea re­turned from a sixweek stint on the dis­abled list on Aug. 10 and de­clared that he was bet­ter. But he has strug­gled to re­gain his top form. He hit just .180 in the se­cond half of the sea­son and man­aged a sin­gle hit — a home run — in an ALDS, look­ing noth­ing like the player who made the All-star team last sea­son and was the 2015 rookie of the year.

He said it both­ers him most at the plate, and it’s been im­pos­si­ble to get back to how he felt be­fore the in­jury.

“Not only to find my swing, just to feel com­fort­able at the plate when I swing,” he said. “Be­cause I know ev­ery time I swing and miss it’s go­ing to hurt. So I try not to swing and miss, and then I try to baby my swing and I don’t swing as hard as I usu­ally do or as quick as I usu­ally do. So it’s def­i­nitely been tough.”

Cor­rea said there’s been a domino ef­fect of pain in other ar­eas, most notably in his obliques, as he tries to avoid do­ing things that make his back hurt.

He’s re­ceiv­ing treat­ment “24/7,” but the pain re­mains. He’s us­ing a foam roller at home and been spo­rad­i­cally tak­ing anti-in­flam­ma­to­ries.

“It’s just a pain down in my lower back that doesn’t let me move right,” he said. “When I bend over, when I ro­tate. Some­times when I wake up and I walk in the morn­ing, I know it’s not go­ing to be a good day.”

He’s ac­cepted that the aching likely will be with him un­til he gets an ex­tended rest. He’s try­ing not to let it weigh on him, but in pri­vate mo­ments at home with his fi­ancee Daniella Ro­driguez, he laments that he sim­ply hasn’t been him­self this sea­son.

“When I go to sleep at night, I think about es­pe­cially this year [how] I’m not per­form­ing the way I know I can per­form. It’s just been tough,” he said. “Some­times I talk to Daniella and I’m like: ‘There’s noth­ing I can do about it. I’m hurt­ing.’ But I’m a com­peti­tor so you grind, you try to per­form. But it’s def­i­nitely … been frus­trat­ing at times.”

De­spite his woes, Cor­rea started all three games of the ALDS and con­tin­ues to play stel­lar de­fense, some­thing he takes pride in as he strug­gles at the plate. And though he was just 1 for 10 against the In­di­ans, his one hit was a big one — a three-run homer in the clinch­ing game — pro­vid­ing hope that maybe things are get­ting bet­ter.

“I feel like I had re­ally good at-bats in the se­ries vs. Cleve­land, just not get­ting lucky with the balls I hit hard,” he said. “But that one fell, and it gives me a lot of con­fi­dence go­ing into this se­ries.”

Man­ager AJ Hinch was asked if he’s con­cerned about Cor­rea.

“Not now,” he said. “We [have] four days off. We get to press the re­set but­ton. You don’t just get to press pause ei­ther way. We had some guys get six and seven hits in that se­ries, but you have to start over again, new op­po­nent. So, no it doesn’t con­cern me.”

Cor­rea is fo­cused on keep­ing a pos­i­tive at­ti­tude as he fights through this and is de­ter­mined to do all he can to help the Astros re­peat as cham­pi­ons.

“It’s been a tough year. But it’s not the end of the world,” he said. “I keep grind­ing ev­ery sin­gle day. I keep try­ing to find ways to help my team. I thought my de­fense this year was ex­cel­lent and I’m look­ing for­ward to win­ning an­other cham­pi­onship and get­ting some rest.”

“And come back next year strong and be the player that I am,” he con­tin­ued.


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