2:40 p.m: The Astros announced that Alvarez was placed on the IL, with outfield Jose Siri recalled to take his place on the active list.
2:15 p.m: The Astros will be seated Jordan Alvarez on 10-day injured list due to hand injury, reports AT&T SportsNet Southwest’s Julia Morales.
Alvarez struggled with a hand problem in June that caused him to miss a few games. Apparently he’s played through the injury since then, with Morales relaying the manager’s message Dusty Baker that the problem has gotten worse. Danielle Lerner of the Houston Chronicle announces that the club hopes a period of rest can help the batter prepare for his series against the Yankees, which comes right after the All-Star break.
With the break looming, this is arguably the best time for a player to hit the IL with a nagging injury. If he can return after a minimum stay, as the Astros hope, Alvarez could miss just seven games. After the All-Star break, the Astros face a bit of a challenge as they start with a double-header against the Yankees as part of a stretch where they play 19 games in 18 days. By going to the IL now, he’s missing out on games against the A’s and Angels, but may be willing to step onto the track where they play the Yankees, Mariners, A’s, Red Sox and Guardians.
While Houston clearly believes this is a small issue that needs to be sorted out quickly, it’s still worth noting that it’s lasted for the past three weeks since the hand problem first forced him on June 19th to miss game. Of course, it’s also worth noting that Alvarez may have been the best batsman in the world this year. With 26 home runs and an overall slash line of .306/.405/.653, he was 97% better than the league average hitter that year. His 197 wRC+ is first among the qualified hitters by six points Paul Goldschmidt‘s 191 and 20 points clear Aaron Richteris 171.
Alvarez has been used mostly as a DH this year, with 33 appearances in left field. With Michael Brantley also on the IL, this leaves the racquet a bit stretched on the turf, with Kyle Tucker, Jake Meyers and Chas McCormick probably get most of the regular action. Aledmys Diaz, Maurizio Dubon and JJ Matijevic are also available as field-ready options.
There’s little reason for the Astros or their fans to panic as their 55-29 record gives them a 12-game lead in the AL West. If Alvarez or Brantley’s injuries continue near the August 2nd deadline, the club could always be looking for outfield upgrades at that point.
The Houston Chronicle’s Danielle Lerner first shared that Alvarez wasn’t on the team and that his hand was at stake (Twitter connections). AT&T SportsNet Southwest’s Julia Morales shared that he actually landed on the IL.