Posted on May 29, 2019, by Bryan Zarpentine
The Houston Astros are suddenly having some issues on the injury front. The team announced Tuesday that second baseman Jose Altuve has been pulled from his minor league rehab assignment. Meanwhile, shortstop Carlos Correa is being evaluated for sore ribs after sitting out two games in a row. The injuries have sprung up just days after outfielder George Springer and infielder Aledmys Diaz were placed on the Injured List with hamstring injuries
Altuve has been out for nearly three weeks with a hamstring strain. The Astros made sure to be patient during his recovery. After playing in minor league games Sunday and Monday, the team hoped to activate him on Tuesday. Instead, he flew back to Houston because of “fatigue and soreness” in his right leg. It’s the same leg that required knee surgery last October, putting his status up in the air moving forward.
“He’s just not able to load back on his right side the way that he normally does when he hits,” said Astros manager A.J. Hinch. “That area is an area he’s been rehabbing for close to five, six months, seven months. As soon as he alerted us to that, we got him a ticket to fly home and we’re going to have him evaluated. We don’t want him playing at any level – rehabbing or at the Major League level – until he’s symptom-free from his hamstring or his right knee.”
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As for Correa, he’s still on the active roster but the Astros are holding him out because of soreness around his ribcage. The injury seems to have popped up out of nowhere following a scheduled off-day for Correa. It remains to be seen if the injury is serious enough to send the 24-year-old shortstop to the IL. However, it was bad enough to receive attention from the team’s medical staff.
“With Carlos, yesterday was a scheduled off-day, and he felt great,” Hinch explained on Tuesday. “He went home and woke up this morning and was doing some things at home and getting treatment, and reported some soreness around his rib and alerted us. He was in the lineup, so I took the lineup down before [the media] came in the clubhouse and re-made it. He’s unavailable.”
With Altuve and Diaz on the IL and Correa out, the Astros are suddenly paper thin in the middle infield. Journeyman Jack Mayfield is being pressed into action at shortstop. Outfielder Tony Kemp was also forced to play second base on Tuesday. The Astros also have the option of playing Alex Bregman at shortstop in place of Correa. But that still requires either Mayfield or Kemp to play second base while also moving Yuli Gurriel from first base to third base.
In short, it’s a game of musical chairs in Houston’s infield right now. It’s still possible that Correa will avoid a stint on the IL. However, Altuve isn’t going to be returning in the immediate future and Diaz figures to be out at least a couple of weeks. The good news is that the Astros have already built a 7.5-game lead atop the AL West. However, Altuve and Correa are the last players the Astros want to see nursing injuries.
“Injuries suck, no matter what time it happens,” says Hinch. “This has been a bad week for us, but we’re going to be fine. We have good players that can win games.”