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The Houston Astros on Friday placed designated hitter and left fielder Yordan Alvarez on the 10-day injured list with right oblique discomfort. 

Going into the next week, the news got worse the more the Astros revealed. General manager Dana Brown said Wednesday that Alvarez is at least three weeks from being able to resume any sort of baseball activity (via Chandler Rome). A timeline like that suggests that it could be four, five or even six weeks until Alvarez is able to rejoin the Astros, presumably after a minor-league rehab assignment. 

We've certainly seen oblique injuries cost sluggers six weeks or more in past seasons, depending on the severity, so a lengthy absence here wouldn't be shocking. 

Alvarez, who turns 26 on June 27, is once again producing at a high level this season. In 57 games for the reigning World Series champs, the lefty slugger has a slash line of .272/.384/.579 (163 OPS+) with 17 home runs and an MLB-leading 55 RBI. For his career, Alvarez has an OPS+ of 162 across parts of five MLB seasons. Last year, he made the All-Star team, won a Silver Slugger, and finished third in the AL MVP balloting behind Aaron Judge and Shohei Ohtani

Alvarez by a wide margin has been Houston's best hitter in 2023, and he'll be sorely missed by an offense that ranks eighth in the AL in runs scored and OPS. The Astros enter Wednesday with a quality record of 38-29, but they trail the Rangers by 3 1/2 games in the AL West.