Houston Astros All-Star second baseman Jose Altuve suffered a fractured thumb during Saturday night's World Baseball Classic game between USA vs. Venezuela and had surgery Wednesday, GM Dana Brown announced. Brown said it will be two months until Altuve can resume baseball activities, according to the Houston Chronicle, meaning he will be sidelined until at least June, and possibly longer.
Altuve was hit by a pitch by Colorado Rockies closer Daniel Bard and left the game immediately and in obvious pain. Here's the injury:
One other high-profile player was seriously injured during the WBC: New York Mets closer Edwin Díaz. He tore the patellar tendon in his right knee during Puerto Rico's celebration following their win over the Dominican Republic. Díaz is expected to miss the entire season. That was a fluke injury during a celebration. Altuve was hurt during a traditional baseball play.
Losing Altuve, who ranked fifth among all qualified hitters with a .921 OPS in 2022, for two months is a major blow to the defending World Series champs, especially with Yordan Alvarez is nursing a hand injury. Designated hitter Michael Brantley's status for Opening Day is also up in the air as he continues to recover from the shoulder surgery that ended his 2022 season prematurely.
Utility men David Hensley and Mauricio Dubón are expected to replace Altuve at second base. Hensley posted a 191 OPS+ in 16 games last season. Dubón, meanwhile, notched a 60 OPS+ in 104 games split between the Astros and the San Francisco Giants. Neither seems likely to replace Altuve in whole, though it's fair to acknowledge that few players would be up to that task.
Altuve, who turns 33 in May, slashed .300/.387/.533 with 39 doubles and 28 home runs last season. The Astros went 106-56 en route to the franchise's second World Series title, though Altuve went 11-for-58 (.190) in the team's 13 postseason games.