Jose Altuve injury lands Astros star on IL, but with dose of good news

Jose Altuve, Houston Astros (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Jose Altuve, Houston Astros (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images) /

Houston Astros star Jose Altuve will miss time with another oblique injury, but it’s not all bad news. 

The Houston Astros are red-hot ahead of the All-Star game, now only two games behind first-place Texas with four games left before the break. However, as the Astros gear up for a four-game series with division-rival Seattle, one key piece will be missing.

Jose Altuve, the diminutive slugger at second base, underwent an MRI on Thursday for left oblique soreness, per ESPN. The diagnosis was a minor strain of his left oblique, which will keep Altuve out at least through the All-Star break.

That said, it’s not all bad news.

Jose Altuve heading to Houston Astros’ injury report with short-term injury

Altuve will miss the four games left on Houston’s schedule prior to the All-Star break. There is not “any rush to bring him back,” GM Dana Brown told ESPN. “Sometimes the best thing is rest.”

For Altuve, the short-term prognosis is a blessing in disguise. While it’s unfortunate to suffer another setback, Altuve has battled back from worse. He already missed four games with an oblique injury earlier in the season, and that was after not making his season debut until May 19 due to a fractured thumb.

“[The diagnosis is] good news for me,” said Altuve. “But we’ve still got to do a lot of stuff to go back to 100 percent.”

Houstonians will pray for a swift recovery for Altuve, the eight-time All-Star and former MVP who has led the Astros to two World Series victories. The more time he has to build back rhythm ahead of a potential Houston playoff berth, the better. The reigning champs have the talent to make another deep run.

Altuve hasn’t been quite himself in 32 games played this season. He’s slashing .264/.371/.479 at the plate with six home runs, 18 RBIs, and five stolen bases. Those aren’t bad numbers by any stretch, however, and there’s still half a season left for Altuve to rediscover his elite form — both at the plate and in the field.

Historically efficient at the plate, Altuve hasn’t been his normal contact-happy self. Nor is the power where we’re accustomed to seeing it. That’s standard slump procedure for a player working his way back from injuries, and frankly, Altuve’s performance this season doesn’t qualify as a slump. He has just set the bar so high that anything short of All-Star, MVP baseball falls short of expectation.

The 33-year-old is getting to the age where, in baseball just like any other sport, injuries start to crop up with maddening frequency. It’s hard to sustain dominance like Altuve has over the last decade, but there’s every reason to believe he can round back into shape late in the season — health providing.

The Astros, meanwhile, are expected to hand second base duties to Mauricio Dubón until Altuve’s return.

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