Alex Bregman is expected to be ready for the regular season after undergoing elbow surgery, but the Houston Astros third baseman will be limited when spring training opens in February, according to a team release.
The Astros announced that Bregman underwent arthroscopic surgery on his right elbow to remove loose bodies on Friday morning.
Bregman is eyeing a March 1 return to game action.
Bone chips were removed from his right elbow, according to Bregman, who revealed the area had been bothering him for about two years.
"Ever since probably 2016, my arm's been bugging me since about Spring Training," he told MLB.com's Brian McTaggart. "It never was worse, though, than this offseason in December around Christmastime, where it locked out. That's the thing you read about bone chips and your arm locking and not being able to move it.
"So my arm locked out, and it just was like so stiff to where I could barely move it. I had to go get a CT scan, and it showed that I had bone chips in it. It's something you can play through a little bit, but when it locks out, you're looking at a DL stint, and I wasn't willing to risk going on the DL this year for something I know I could fix before the season started. So we went ahead and knocked it out."
Houston kicks off its Grapefruit League schedule on Feb. 23 against the Washington Nationals. The team's first game at its home complex in Kissimmee, Fla. takes place on Feb. 24 against the Atlanta Braves.
Bregman, 24, is coming off a remarkable season in 2018 after appearing in his first All-Star Game and being named MVP of the Midsummer Classic. He recorded a .286/.394/.532 slash line with 31 home runs and 10 stolen bases, finishing fifth in AL MVP voting.