When Houston Astros All-Star third baseman Alex Bregman absolutely crushed a deep-left-field home run on September 7 against the Seattle Mariners, the blast (watch it here) was more than just a game-tying play. It signaled the return of one of the most valuable players in major league baseball.
“That homer felt like, ‘Yup, that’s you. You’re back,’” Bregman tells CultureMap. “It felt right. Those are the moments when you’re ready to shine the brightest.”
Bregman has been shining brightly since being sidelined with a serious leg injury (quadriceps). Gone from the team nearly the entire summer (June 16-August 25), the home-run slugger, ace infielder, and fan favorite rehabbed with the team and in the minor leagues with the Sugar Land Skeeters before making a triumphant return.
Now, in a stark, revealing documentary (not typical in the MLB), Bregman reveals the pain, frustration, and “grind” that the often grueling recovery took in No Sunshine: Reset. Rebuild. Rise.
In the new film, produced by Bregman, his partner Tyler Straub, and Will Stout through PHW Productions, fans can expect a quick-moving, brutally honest tale of work and recovery—not to mention a veritable clinic in what it takes to hit in the major leagues.
CultureMap caught up exclusively with Bregman to talk No Sunshine, his road back, and a season that almost wasn’t.
CultureMap: Congratulations on your big return, the homers, and your documentary. Why was it important to you to invite fans and viewers into your personal and professional journey?
Alex Bregman: Thank you. I wanted to show everybody what we go through to get back to form from an injury and how brutal this injury really was—just the realness of the injury.
CM: This was so much more than just a leg injury. Can you take us back to how it all started?
AB: In 2020, I had a hamstring tear on my left side that I came back from, and just this last offseason, I had a hamstring on the other side. I hurt that hamstring again right before spring training ended. I kind of limped into the season this year.
Your body starts to compensate. Next thing you know, a month into the season, I hurt my left quad and we really had to just start from the ground up. We had to address every imbalance in my body — hips, hamstrings, quads, glutes — and start from scratch. That takes time and a lot of grind.
Right when we started out in the initial rehab assignment, I was worried more about running than I was about playing baseball. My second crack at it, I got back and said, ‘you know what, my legs are healthy, I gotta trust it. Let’s go.’
CM: “Let’s go” is definitely an A-Breg motto, but you didn’t always feel that way during the filmmaking process.
AB: Yeah, two or three times I was like, ‘we’re not gonna film this — let’s shut it down and focus on rehab.’ Somehow, Will kept the camera rolling and I didn’t break it. [Laughs.] He captured the good, the bad, and the ugly — and all the people who helped me along the way.
CM: Speaking of all those people, you’ve been quick to point out that this was a team effort to get you back.
AB: My trainer Jeremiah Randle oversaw the process, but yeah, everybody from our big-league training staff to our Triple-A strength and conditioning staff helped out so much. It was a long rehab, but we made it a lot shorter than it should have been.
CM: Rarely in sports do you see athletes reveal this part of their career — maybe in the NFL with Hard Knocks. But almost never in major league baseball.
AB: I don’t really know if this has been done before in baseball. I think baseball is finally opening up to letting the fans and showing them everything: uncut, unfiltered — here’s what we go through on a daily basis.
CM: Excuse the pun, but your documentary really goes ‘inside baseball’ in regards to hitting. Can you describe the importance of lower-body strength in your game?
AB: You want to stay in the ground when you hit. You don’t want to feel weak and be moving everywhere and be opening up when you shouldn’t be opening up, or zigging when you should be zagging.
You have to be in your legs when you’re hitting. It’s finally nice to be in my legs again.
CM: Without naming names, many in your position on other teams would’ve just looked at all the injuries and just come back the next year.
AB: Yes, I was told in the beginning that just making it back to the season would be great.
CM: But you’ve made it clear that shutting the season down was never on the table.
AB: Shutting it down was never an option for me, because of my teammates. Yeah, we could’ve shut it down to address every little bruise and tweak and show up to spring training next year. But that was never an option for me.
CM: Let’s look ahead. You’ve come back strong — how do you feel now?
AB: I’ve never been more fired up for a postseason in my life. The team is fired up and everybody’s excited. We’ve gotta finish strong and finish healthy and go into the postseason feeling the way we should.
CM: Changes may be coming to the team, especially with potential departures like Carlos Correa. Is this the year?
AB: We have possibly one more year with our same infield that we’ve had for the last five years. I don’t see that there’s a better opportunity to make a run at it and win a World Series.