Astros send struggling José Abreu to Florida to work on swing

Abreu, the 2020 AL MVP, is hitting .099 this season with only one extra-base hit.

HOUSTON — The Houston Astros are sending José Abreu to Florida to work on his swing and get back on track.

Abreu has struggled mightily to begin the 2024 season. He has only seven hits in his 77 plate appearances, including only one extra-base hit. His batting average sits at .099.

Astros General Manager Dana Brown said he believes Abreu’s bat speed is fine, but his timing appears to be off. Brown said Jeff Bagwell might go down to the Astros’ Florida complex to help the struggling slugger, who was the AL MVP in 2020.

“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 release the Astros sent out Tuesday. “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.”

Abreu also got off to a cold start to the 2023 season but ended the year with 90 RBI and had some clutch hits in the playoffs.

The Astros have limped out to a 9-19 record, which is the second-worst in the American League.

“It’s hard watching a veteran plater go through this,” Brown said.

Abreu, 37, is in the second year of a $58.5 million contract he signed with Houston before the 2023 season. He’s making $19.5 million each year of the deal.

The Astros said Abreu accepted the option to Houston’s Spring Training facility in West Palm Beach. The option will take effect on Wednesday, when the team said it will make a corresponding move.

The Astros called up top prospect Joey Loperfido from Triple-A Sugar Land as they try to figure out what to do at the first base position.

The left-handed Loperfido will join the Astros after getting off to a terrific start in Sugar Land where he hit .287 with 13 homers and 27 RBIs in 25 games. The 13 homers lead the minor leagues and he’s tied for third with 17 extra-base hits.

The 24-year-old, rated as Houston’s No. 6 prospect by MLB.com, was a seventh-round pick from Duke in the 2021 amateur draft. Loperfido, also an outfielder, spent four seasons in the team’s minor league system and was named Astros minor league player of the year last season.

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