The news on Jose Altuve became official on Wednesday night, as the Astros announced that the star second baseman will undergo surgery to repair his fractured right thumb.
Altuve sustained the injury playing in the World Baseball Classic, which has some questioning the importance of the tournament, given his ailment and the injury to Edwin Diaz of the Mets.
Jose Altuve Undergoes Surgery, Out Until At Least June
In a game against Team USA, Altuve was taking an at-bat when he was drilled in the hands by a fastball from Daniel Bard that clocked in at 96 miles per hour. He immediately crumbled to the dirt, exited the lineup, and never returned to the event for Venezuela.
The thumb fracture and subsequent surgery will keep him out for some time. The Astros have been quoted as saying that he will not be partaking in any baseball-related activities for at least two months, meaning that he is looking at a return in late May, at the very earliest.
This is essentially the team saying that Jose Altuve will be re-evaluated in two months, which is not at all a promise that he will be ready to go at that point. There is a long healing process, as well as possible setbacks. There will also be the time that the player takes to get acclimated back into game form, with a likely stint in the minor leagues for a few games.
Can The Astros Remain Favorites Without Altuve?
Jose Altuve leaves the game after being hit in the hand by a pitch. pic.twitter.com/Dzd9phTnnK
— FOX Sports: MLB (@MLBONFOX) March 19, 2023
Realistically, we are looking at a mid-June return for Altuve to the Astros lineup, and hopefully it won’t be too late. The Astros have high hopes and expectations yet again this season, and are one of the favorites to win the World Series at the end of the year.
But Altuve is their most important piece and one of the biggest reasons for the team’s success over the last half-decade plus. They will replace him in the lineup with utility man Mauricio Dubon, who hit for an average of just .208 last season in 197 at-bats.
The injury is unfortunate for Altuve personally, as well. He is coming off another excellent season at the plate, where he hit at an even .300 while smacking 28 home runs with a .921 OPS.
In order to stay afloat until his return, the Astros will have to have guys like Alex Bregman and Yordan Alvarez start the year off strong and remain consistent in the lineup.
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