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The Houston Astros announced on Wednesday that left-hander Framber Valdez has suffered a fractured left ring finger. Valdez suffered the injury early in his spring training start against the Mets on Tuesday when he was struck on the pitching hand by a Francisco Lindor come-backer. Valdez was able to remain in the game after sustaining the injury. 

"Following his outing, we decided to have Framber examined," GM James Click said in a statement released by the club. "The x-ray revealed the injury. At this point, the medical staff needs to do additional tests and imaging before deciding on the next steps. We will know more in the upcoming days."

At this early juncture, it's not yet certain how long Valdez will be out, but MLB Network's Jon Heyman on Twitter reports that the injury is believed to be serious and could mean an extended absence, including, potentially, for the entire 2021 season. Heyman reports surgery is a possibility for Valdez.

Valdez, 27, was in line to be a key member of the Houston rotation this season -- a rotation that was already without ace Justin Verlander, who's recovering from Tommy John surgery and could miss all of 2021. Across parts of three major-league seasons, Valdez has pitched to a 4.10 ERA and 2.12 K/BB ratio in 23 starts and 22 relief appearances. Valdez last season appeared to take the next step in his development, as he registered a 126 ERA+ and a 4.75 K/BB ratio in 70 2/3 innings. In the postseason Valdez in 2020 contributed a 1.88 ERA in three starts and one relief appearance. 

In Valdez's absence, the Astros could look to the free-agent market, where Jake Odorizzi remains the top available arm. Alternatively, they could promote from within. Houston's internal options include Forrest Whitley and Luis Garcia.