Correa not ready to return for game against Athletics

Houston Astros shortstop Carlos Correa missed his 12th consecutive game on Sunday and suddenly faces the possibility of being sidelined for the remainder of the current homestand.

Correa, placed on the 10-day disabled list with lower back soreness on June 26, was originally slated to return to action for the Astros' 11-game homestand that preceded the All-Star break and continues with the opener of a four-game series with the Oakland Athletics on Monday.

Instead, Correa remains sidelined with no clear view of when he will rejoin the club. The Astros (61-31) improved to 9-3 with Correa unavailable after their 2-1 win over the Chicago White Sox.

The timing of the injury likely cost Correa a shot at making his second American League All-Star team. He was second in the voting behind the Baltimore Orioles shortstop Manny Machado with a .268/.352/.480 slash line, 13 home runs and 49 RBIs. His 129 wRC+ is fifth among AL shortstops.

"I don't think we're going to give up yet. There's a lot of games (left)," Astros manager A.J. Hinch said. "It's easy to put it on paper and wonder, 'Hey, we'll just give him another week off and we'll see what happens. And then you look at how many games there are and how many at-bats there are and the progress he can make. It's imperative for us to stay patient."

Right-hander Gerrit Cole (9-2, 2.70 ERA) will start the series opener.

He is 2-1 with a 3.51 ERA in four career starts against the Athletics, including two victories (with a 3.86 ERA) in three starts this season.

Cole has 27 strikeouts in 18 2/3 innings against Oakland this season and is only nine shy of matching the club record set by Mike Scott in 1986 of 167 strikeouts before the All-Star break. Cole has allowed at least four earned runs in three of his last five starts after not doing so in his first 13 appearances this season.