Astros roster moves: J.D. Martinez headed to Houston

USA TODAY Sports

The Astros outfielder has been on the DL since April 20, but J.D. Martinez is headed to Houston Monday. The question is why?

Houston outfielder J.D. Martinez has been on the disabled list since with a bum knee. Martinez was placed on the DL on April 20 with a sprained right knee he suffered in an at-bat.

The outfielder has been on a rehab assignment in Corpus Christi, playing in five games and going 6 for 20 with one home run and two doubles for the Double-A affiliate. He was supposed to be in the lineup Monday for the Hooks, but Greg Rajan tweeted that he had been pulled and sent to Houston (h/t to Astros County).

Monday is the first day that Martinez is eligible to return from the disabled list, so he likely is being activated before Tuesday's game with the Angels. Since Houston doesn't have to announce a move until Tuesday afternoon, there are plenty of possibilities on what his trip might mean.

One, he could be in Houston to see team doctors about his knee. Maybe he's ready to come back and maybe he's suffered a small setback.

Two, maybe he's about to head to Oklahoma City and needed to be in Houston briefly to talk with management about the plan. Maybe they're going to use the full 30 days he can be on a rehab assignment to get him on the right track with the RedHawks.

Three, they're ending an experiment with one of the outfielders on the roster. Over the past two weeks, Rick Ankiel has gotten the fewest plate appearances of any outfielder with just 30. He's likely the best bet to leave the roster for J.D., but we can't leave out Fernando Martinez, who has only gotten 33 PAs in that stretch, or Brandon Barnes, who also has just 30 PAs in nine games.

Four, Robbie Grossman will be sent back to the minors so that J.D. and Barnes can play every day. Since Grossman has a a team-high 56 PAs in the past two weeks among outfielders, it's likely the team has gotten a pretty good look at him so far with somewhat disappointing results. He certainly could continue to man center field and bat leadoff, but the team might want to get him some more seasoning in Triple-A.

What do you think? Is J.D. coming off the DL? Who's roster spot does he take?

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