HOUSTON (KIAH) Major League Baseball is a quarter of the way into its 162 game season, and the defending World Series Champions have a winning record so far despite key injuries.
Fan favorite and starting second baseman Jose Altuve hasn’t played a regular season game yet because of the broken thumb he suffered while playing in the World Baseball Classic during spring training.
But he is on a rehab assignment in the minor leagues going one for 13 at the plate for the Triple-A Sugar Land Space Cowboys last week and 0-5 in his first game with the Corpus Christi Hooks Tuesday night.
Astros Manager Dusty Baker doesn’t want to put a timetable on his return, but it’s likely coming in the coming weeks.
“You don’t want to put timelines,” Baker said. “If he doesn’t make the time, it’s like, ‘What happened?’ No, it’s a matter of him feeling good. It’s a matter of his timing.”
When Altuve does return, his presence will be a boost to the Astros who sit in second place in the American League West Division right now, three games behind the Texas Rangers.
The pitching rotation could also use some support, and that could also be coming soon.
Chandler Rome of The Athletic reports that starter Lance McCullers threw a bullpen session Tuesday and he could soon throw live batting practice putting him closer to getting back to game action from his forearm injury.
The same can’t be said though for starter Jose Urquidy who’s out with a shoulder problem.
“He’s just training and running and throwing,” Baker said. “He’s had this before, so he has an idea of what to do, and how to keep himself ready — or to get ready I should say.”
The Astros will try to complete a three-game sweep of the Chicago Cubs at home inside Minute Maid Park Wednesday night.
Thursday is an off-day before a weekend set with the Oakland A’s who will come to Houston with the MLB’s worst record.