Astros' Yordan Alvarez taking time off to rest hand injury

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. -- The Houston Astros will begin their first full spring workout without All-Star Yordan Alvarez in the batting cage, as he continues to nurse a left hand injury and won't hit for at least a few days.

"It did flare up a little bit in the offseason," Alvarez said through the team interpreter Tuesday morning. "I felt a little bit of discomfort, but it's something we're going to work on. I'm going to take the next couple of days off here, like I did in the offseason to prepare, but it's not something that's going to be an issue during the season."

Alvarez, 25, missed time in September with the injury and isn't sure how or when it originally happened. Manager Dusty Baker was asked whether offseason surgery was considered.

"[Doctors] said it didn't need it," Baker said. "It's tough, but we have six weeks. He did pretty good last year, sometimes with a hurt hand."

Alvarez finished third in AL MVP voting while hitting .306 with a 1.019 OPS. He spent time on the injured list last July with a right hand injury, then again late in the season with the left hand issue.

"The easy solution for that is just rest," Alvarez said. "We decided it was better to lose a couple of days of hitting right now rather than the season."

Alvarez said he got into better shape for this season -- mostly lower-body conditioning -- as he knows he'll be playing more outfield with the addition of free agent Jose Abreu.

"We'll see if the hand is better by the time we get there [the regular season]," Baker said. "I'd like to think I have healing power, but I don't."

The Astros are already dealing with an injury to pitcher Lance McCullers Jr., who was "temporarily" shut down after a bullpen session. Baker said Tuesday that McCullers was "feeling better" and in "good spirits."