Close to home: Versatile OF Presley solid for Astros before injury

Houston outfielder Alex Presley grimaces after swinging at a pitch during a game against Texas on July 7. The Ole Miss product was put on the disabled list the next day with an oblique strain. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)

Houston outfielder Alex Presley grimaces after swinging at a pitch during a game against Texas on July 7. The Ole Miss product was put on the disabled list the next day with an oblique strain. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)

By Steve Hunt

Special to the Journal

ARLINGTON, Texas – Alex Presley prides himself as someone who can play all three outfield positions, and the Ole Miss product has seen time this season for the Houston Astros in left, center and right field.

The 28-year-old outfielder was seeing regular action in center after veteran Dexter Fowler was sidelined with an oblique injury in late June.

Oddly enough, Presley headed to the disabled list with an injury similar to Fowler’s after getting hurt during an at-bat on July 7.

Reporters were told on Sunday that Presley has resumed some light exercise but is still several weeks from returning.

Through 70 games, Presley was hitting .252 with 5 HR and 13 RBI for the Astros, a team that he didn’t join until March 27 when they claimed him off waivers. He split last season between Pittsburgh and Minnesota, where he was traded on Aug. 31 for former American League MVP Justin Morneau.

The Twins released Presley during spring training.

‘Knows the game’

“I think he’s played center field well,” Fowler said. “He knows the game and I think that’s his natural position.”

Before he got hurt, Presley said he was not only loving the experience of playing for one of the American League’s up-and-coming clubs, but he also loved the fact that the Bayou City is the closest that he’s ever played to his hometown of Shreveport, La., which makes it easier for friends and family to see him play on a more regular basis.

“It’s been good. Close to home, so it’s a nice spot for me to be with family being able to come over and watch me play,” he said. “Being with an up-and-coming team is definitely a fun experience.”

Presley said he has enjoyed playing for second-year Houston manager Bo Porter, whose upbeat personality, enthusiasm and positive energy has truly resonated with one of the youngest teams in the game.

“Yeah, he’s definitely more upbeat, a high-energy manager. He tries to find ways to motivate us within the game, which is probably rarer at this level,” Presley said. “He’s been fun to play for.”

Presley, a career .262 hitter, was batting .304 (7 of 23) before his injury.

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Steve Hunt is a freelance writer based in Frisco, Texas.