Jose Altuve expected to return to action Sunday

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Astros second baseman Jose Altuve hasn’t appeared in a game in six days because of a mild right hamstring strain. But he was available for use as a pinch-hitter on Saturday afternoon against the Cubs and is nearly ready to return for good.

According to MLB.com’s Brian McTaggart, Astros manager Brad Mills told reporters after Saturday’s 3-2 loss that he plans to write Altuve’s name into the lineup for Sunday’s series finale at Wrigley Field.

Altuve, 22, is hitting .309/.351/.453 with five homers, four triples and 12 steals in 71 games this season.

Brett Cecil placed on 10-day injured list due to Carpal Tunnel syndrome

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On Monday, Cardinals reliever Brett Cecil was placed on the 10-day injured list due to Carpal Tunnel syndrome. Cecil, who notably lost 42 pounds since the end of the 2018 season, was having trouble with his mechanics throughout spring training and only logged two official Grapefruit League innings.

Cecil, 32, is entering the third year of his four-year, $30.5 million contract. He struggled last year, finishing with a 6.89 ERA and a 19/25 K/BB ratio in 32 2/3 innings. The lefty dealt with shoulder and foot injuries during the season as well.

The Cardinals bolstered the bullpen in December, signing lefty Andrew Miller to a two-year, $25 million deal. It would be nice to have a healthy and effective Cecil, but the high-leverage workload will be managed by Miller and Jordan Hicks as well as Alex Reyes.

Cecil was among a handful of Cardinals to hit the injured list on Monday, joining Carlos Martínez (right shoulder cuff strain), Jedd Gyorko (right calf strain), Luke Gregerson (right shoulder impingement), and Justin Williams (right hand second metacarpal fracture).