The Astros will open the 2023 season without star second baseman Jose Altuve, who was pulled from Venezuela’s World Baseball Classic quarterfinal game vs. the USA on March 18 after being hit in the hand by a Daniel Bard pitch.
Bard was battling control issues throughout his relief appearance. He had Altuve down 1-2 in the count but then he threw a slider that was nowhere near home plate. After that, he came inside with a fastball and hit Altuve.
Altuve fell to the ground after being hit and quickly left for the Venezuela clubhouse at Miami’s loanDepot Park.
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
The Astros initially said only that Altuve was being “evaluated for an injury to his right hand,” but Ken Rosenthal reported on the Fox broadcast that indications were the second baseman had a broken right thumb.
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Here’s the latest on the injury to the Astros star:
Jose Altuve injury update
Altuve was pulled from the game immediately after being hit by a pitch in the hand area. He fell to the ground and was clearly in pain.
Venezuela officials said after the game that Altuve had a broken thumb, per Bob Nightengale. Altuve did not talk to reporters after the game and instead left the clubhouse right away, according to Jorge Castillo.
Sunday afternoon, Astros general manager Dana Brown confirmed to reporters that Altuve had broken his right thumb and said the 32-year-old will need surgery. Brown called it a “massive blow” to the defending World Series champions and did not offer a timetable for a potential return, but Jeff Passan reported Altuve likely will miss at least two months.
Altuve told reporters he’ll work his way back as quickly as he can.
Altuve said he knew when the pitch hit him in the WBC, that it was likely broken.
“Obviously, nobody wants to get hurt and start the season on the IL,” Altuve said. “I want to control what I can control and that’s recover fast and get back to the team.”
— Brian McTaggart (@brianmctaggart) March 19, 2023
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The injury comes days after Mets closer Edwin Díaz lost his season to a patellar tendon tear in his right knee that he suffered celebrating Puerto Rico’s win over the Dominican Republic. That sparked renewed controversy over the World Baseball Classic’s proximity to the regular season.
Last year, Altuve hit .300/.387/.533, marking his sixth season over .300. He was 3 for 14 with five walks and the hit by pitch in the World Baseball Classic.