Astros slugger Yordan Alvarez placed on IL due to worsening hand injury

August 3, 2022

Houston Astros Yordan Alvarez

Yordan Álvarez is making a case for American League MVP this season, but he’ll be out of action on the injured list for a while due to a hand injury that the Houston Astros say isn’t healing right.

  • “Yordan has been suffering with the injury for a couple weeks and it’s gotten worse,” Astros manager Dusty Baker said Sunday, via the Houston Chronicle. “We decided that, hey, the only way to get this well is to try to use these [games] before the All-Star break to coincide with the 10 [days] that he has to be on the IL.
  • “It was bothering him every swing. Hands are so important when you hit.”

Alvarez dealt with a hand issue back in June that caused him to miss a few games. He has evidently been playing through the injury since that time, with Morales relaying word from manager Dusty Baker that the issue has been getting worse. Danielle Lerner of the Houston Chronicle relays that the club is hoping that a period of rest can help the slugger be ready for their series against the Yankees, which is right after the All-Star break.

Due to the upcoming break, this is probably the best time for a player to hit the IL due to 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 are in for a bit of a grind, as they start with a double-header against the Yankees as part of a stretch wherein they play 19 games in 18 days. By going on the IL now, he’ll miss games against the A’s and Angels but potentially be ready to go for that stretch where they play the Yankees, Mariners, A’s, Red Sox and Guardians.

Although Houston is clearly of the opinion this is a minor issue that be quickly cleared up, it’s still noteworthy that it’s lingered for the past three weeks, as it was June 19 that the hand issue first forced him to miss a game. Of course, it’s also noteworthy given that Alvarez has been perhaps the best hitter on the planet this year. With 26 home runs and an overall slash line of .306/.405/.653, he’s been 97% better than the league average hitter this year. His 197 wRC+ is first among qualified hitters, six points ahead of Paul Goldschmidt’s 191 and 20 points ahead of Aaron Judge’s 171.

Álvarez, 25, leads MLB in slugging percentage (.653) and OPS (1.058) this season and has 26 home runs with 60 RBI. The Astros entered Sunday with a 55-29 record and a 12-game lead in the AL West. Álvarez has been dealing with hand inflammation since June, but has continued to be one of the best hitters in baseball with three home runs in the last week.

The Astros have a pair of upcoming series against the Los Angeles Angels and Oakland Athletics before the All-Star break next week.

Houston called up outfielder Jose Siri from Triple-A Sugar Land on Sunday to fill Álvarez’s spot on the roster.

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