Nate McLouth out six weeks following sports hernia surgery

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Nate McLouth was placed on the disabled list last week with a lower abdominal strain, but Mark Bowman of MLB.com reports that the Braves outfielder underwent sports hernia surgery yesterday and is expected to miss six more weeks.

McLouth hasn’t ruled out playing again this season, but he’ll definitely be up against the clock and a rehab assignment won’t be possible as part of his recovery because the minor-league season will be over by then.

Of course, with Michael Bourn taking his place as the Braves’ starting center fielder there isn’t as much incentive to rush McLouth back. He was hitting just .228 with a .677 OPS in 81 games prior to the injury and that production looks even worse in an outfield corner.

Interestingly, when the Braves placed McLouth on the DL last week manager Fredi Gonzalez indicated that he’d been playing through the abdominal injury since the first week of the season. Given the need for surgery now that could explain his struggles, although McLouth hit even worse last season.

Report: Astros, Michael Brantley agree to two-year, $32 million contract

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Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reports that the Astros and outfielder Michael Brantley are closing in on an agreement for a two-year contract in the $32 million range.

Brantley, 31, played a mostly full season last year for the first time since 2015. He hit .309/.364/.468 with 17 home runs, 76 RBI, 89 runs scored, and 12 stolen bases in 631 plate appearances. He made the AL All-Star squad for the third time in his career.

Brantley’s health, though, is why he had to settle for a two-year deal as opposed to a longer contract for a player of his caliber. He will take over in left field. In the event Brantley succumbs to injury woes, the Astros have top prospect Kyle Tucker waiting in the wings.

Update: According to Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports, who also reports that the deal is in place, the Astros plan to rotate Brantley between left field, first base, and DH. That opens up some more playing time for Tucker.