Globe Champion Astros Drop Leadoff Man Jose Altuve With Fractured Hand

Astros winces as he’s hit in the hand by a pitched ball Saturday evening in the Globe Baseball Classic. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)Copyright 2023 The Connected Press. All rights reserved

Even the Globe Champion Houston Astros are not immune from the injury wave rampaging by means of the ranks of players who skipped spring coaching for the Globe Baseball Classic.

Star second baseman José Altuve is the most up-to-date to endure a critical injury through the previous week, joining Edwin Diaz of the New York Mets and Freddie Freeman of the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Altuve, playing for Venezuela, suffered a broken hand when hit by a pitch Saturday evening and will be out indefinitely.

Diaz will miss the season just after hurting his knee though celebrating a win in the WBC, though Freeman took himself out of the tournament just after injuring his hamstring though playing for Canada. He’s hoping to be prepared by Opening Day March 30.

As a outcome of these and lesser mishaps, the timing of the 20-group tournament is beneath fire simply because it requires players away from their teams through spring coaching. Even although it is played as soon as each 3 years (with time out in 2020 simply because of COVID-19), critics have recommended it be played in November, when significant-league teams are attempting to sell tickets for the following season.

The WBC, final played in 2017, runs from March eight-21 and is played in several ballparks prior to the championship game at Miami’s LoanDepot Park. Players are paid to participate and insured against injury.

The Altuve injury is a critical blow to the Astros, who are not only searching for to preserve their Globe Series crown but also to attain the American League Championship Series for the seventh straight season. No group has won consecutive globe championships given that the New York Yankees took 3 straight in 1998, 1999, and 2000.

Altuve will require surgery to repair the hand, according to Astros basic manager Dana Brown, and could be out for months.

The tiny leadoff man, the shortest man in the majors at 5’6″ tall, is a 3-time American League batting champion who as soon as led the league in hits 4 years in a row. He has spent his complete profession with the Astros, who gave him a seven-year, $163.five million contract fantastic by means of the 2024 season.

Because breaking into the massive leagues in 2011, Altuve has been a sturdy player, missing time only in 2014, when he had a hamstring injury.

The pint-sized slugger has twice hit 31 household runs through the common season but is even a lot more deadly in the post-season, with 23 household runs in 79 games.

Altuve has a profession batting typical of .307, along with an on-base percentage of .362 and OPS (on-base plus slugging) of .830.

A two-time league leader in stolen bases, he has scored at least one hundred runs in a season 3 instances. Final year, he hit .300 with 28 household runs and 18 stolen bases. He is also a sturdy defender at second base.

Altuve’s resume appears like it belongs to a future Hall of Famer. An eight-time All-Star, he has also been American League Most Beneficial Player, AL Championship Series MVP, a two-time globe champion, and the winner of a Gold Glove Award. He has won six Silver Sluggers as the finest hitter at his position.

Altuve, who turns 33 in May perhaps, is displaying no indicators of slowing down.

Replacing him will not be effortless. Candidates variety from David Hensley, Rylan Bannon, and Mauricio Dubon on the 40-man Houston varsity to non-roster player Dixon Machado. The versatile Dubon has the most knowledge of that group.

Brown could also scour what’s left of the no cost agent marketplace, which nevertheless involves 4-time Gold Glove shortstop Andrelton Simmons, or swing a trade with an additional club.

Targets could incorporate Gleyber Torres or Isaih Kiner-Kalefa, who played second and brief for the Yankees final year but are becoming pushed by rookies Anthony Volpe and Oswald Peraza.

Houston’s 2023 roster will undoubtedly appear diverse from the 1 that won the Globe Series from Philadelphia final fall.

Gone are such essential contributors as pitcher Justin Verlander, who jumped to the Mets by way of no cost agency just after winning the American League’s Cy Young Award catcher Christian Vasquez, now with Minnesota 1st baseman Yuli Gurriel, who signed with Miami and outfielder Trey Mancini, who joined the Chicago Cubs.

Even devoid of Altuve, the Astros nevertheless have a sturdy attack, led by Alex Bregman, Yordan Alvarez, Kyle Tucker, and newly-signed José Abreu. Due to the fact of the injuries and no cost agent defections, having said that, the group may well have a challenging time approaching its 106-56 record of final season.

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I am a former Connected Press sportswriter whose journalism profession started in 1969 just after graduating from Syracuse University with B.A. degrees in newspaper journalism and political science. My 38 books incorporate ghostwritten autobiographies of Ron Blomberg, Milo Hamilton, and Al Clark plus The New Baseball Bible, a 424-web page offbeat illustrated history published in 2017. My byline has appeared in The Sporting News, Baseball Digest, USA Currently Sports Weekly, and the official All-Star and Globe Series applications. I received 5 1st-location prizes from the Garden State Journalists Association at its annual dinner on May perhaps 23, 2018.

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