All you need to know about the extent of the horrific injury suffered by Jose Altuve in the World Baseball Classic.
Second baseman Jose Altuve has a fracture in his right thumb, and the general manager of the Astros, Dana Brown, revealed this information to the media. Altuve is scheduled to have surgery in the “coming days.” There is currently no schedule for his eventual comeback.
After being struck on the hand by a pitch, Altuve had to leave the game he was playing in during the World Baseball Classic yesterday night. It was earlier reported by Marly Rivera of ESPN that Altuve had, in fact, sustained a fracture, which was in line with what was anticipated.
The news undoubtedly comes as a devastating blow to the team that is currently holding the title of World Series champion, since Altuve has been an essential member of the club for many years. In addition to the consistency with which he has delivered an outstanding performance, he has, up to this point, never really needed to cope with a severe injury.
From the start of the 2012 season, Altuve has never had an individual season in which he played fewer than 124 games. This streak goes back ten full seasons. In 2019, he suffered a hamstring strain that put him on the injured list for a little more than a month, which contributed to the low total. Other than that, all of his excursions to the IL have been quite small, which means that he is now likely facing the longest absence of his career. All of his travels have been rather minor.
Even though the team has not established a specific timeline for when Altuve will be ready to return, there is little question that he will be out for a considerable amount of time. Last year, Bryce Harper sustained a fracture to his thumb, which caused him to miss almost two months of the season. Although every injury and subsequent rehabilitation is unique, it is realistic to anticipate that the Astros’ second baseman will follow a process that is analogous to the one he followed previously.
Jose Altuve is critical to Astros’ success
Altuve has been one of the greatest players in the league and will turn 33 in May. But, he is coming off of one of the best seasons of his career to this point. He set a career best with 28 home runs, stole 18 bases, and walked in 10.9% of his at-bats, which was the highest percentage of his career.
His batting line of.300/.387/.533 resulted in a wRC+ of 164, a career-high statistic that suggested he was 64% better than the average hitter in the league. His batting line also revealed that he had a career-high batting average. His glovework received mixed reviews from defensive analytics, but FanGraphs still assessed him as being worth 6.6 wins above replacement, which is his highest total in that category since the scandalous sign-stealing season of 2017.
The precise timing of his return will be determined by the length of time it takes for him to heal, followed by the amount of time he requires to get back into game form following his layoff; but, it appears that it will eat up a significant portion of the calendar anyway.
Even if Altuve is expected to return to the lineup during the later part of the season, the team will still need to figure out who will play the keystone position in the interim. Mauricio Dubón, David Hensley, and Rylan Bannon are the possibilities that are currently on the 40-man roster, and Dixon Machado is present at camp despite not being on the roster.
This group provides the Astros with a wide variety of alternatives; nevertheless, none of them will be expected to match the production that Altuve has provided. There is also the possibility that the club could seek assistance from sources external to the organization; however, doing so at this time of year presents a number of difficulties.
Regardless of how the club chooses to handle the situation, it is very certain that for the foreseeable future they will be in a weaker position at second base. They have a formidable batting order, with strong hitters like Alex Bregman, Kyle Tucker, José Abreu, and Yordan Alvarez among them.
They will undoubtedly be in good health overall. They have accomplished the seemingly impossible by reaching the American League Championship Series (ALCS) in each of the past six seasons, advancing to the World Series in four of those years and winning it twice. They appear to be in a position to be successful once more; but, they will now be tested by a number of prominent absences in the early going, as Lance McCullers Jr. will begin the season on the injured list as well.
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