Correa dealing with intense back pain ahead of ALCS


Carlos Correa's wonky back is flaring up once again - and at the worst possible time for the Houston Astros.

Just a few days before the Astros begin defense of their American League pennant against the Boston Red Sox in the ALCS, Correa - who missed almost two months during the regular season because of back issues - told Kristie Rieken of The Associated Press that he's playing through intense back pain.

The All-Star shortstop, who said that he's being treated for his ailment on a "24-7" basis, revealed that he feels the pain every time he swings and misses, and sometimes even when he's walking. Correa added that getting back to how he felt before the injury has been difficult.

"Not only to find my swing, just to feel comfortable at the plate when I swing," Correa 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 emerged as a superstar with the Astros last season, leading them to their first World Series championship by slugging five homers in the 2017 playoffs on the heels of an All-Star regular season. But 2018 has been a far different story for the 24-year-old, as the back problems not only forced him to the disabled list for a long stretch of the season but have limited his effectiveness for much of the year.

Correa appeared in 37 regular-season games after returning from the disabled list in early August, and hit just .180/.261/.256 with only six extra-base hits over that span. He followed up that poor finish to the season by going just 1-for-10 in the Astros' ALDS victory over Cleveland, though his one hit in the series was a homer in the deciding Game 3.

Houston's sweep of the Indians gave the AL West champions four days of rest before meeting the Red Sox at Fenway Park on Saturday. Those extra off days should prove beneficial to the former first overall pick once the ALCS gets going.

"I told the boys when we got to Cleveland (for Game 3), 'Hey, a lot of us need rest, so let's win this, and get out of here and get some rest,'" Correa told Brian McTaggart of MLB.com. "We were able to do that and had a great series."

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