HOUSTON -- The first-place Astros will be without All-Star shortstop Carlos Correa for six to eight weeks after he was diagnosed with a torn ligament in his left thumb on Tuesday, an injury that will require surgery at a later date.
Correa left Monday's 9-7 loss to the Mariners in the fourth inning after injuring the thumb on a swing, the same thumb he originally hurt sliding head-first into home July 4 in Atlanta. Correa said the thumb continued to bother him into the following series in Toronto and through the All-Star Game, where he started for the American League.
"On that swing [Monday], I felt like a shock through my finger," Correa said. "It was hurting a lot and I got checked today and the MRI showed a torn ligament."
The 22-year-old was having a Most Valuable Player-caliber season for the Astros, hitting .320 with 18 doubles, 20 home runs and 67 RBIs in 84 games. He ranks second in the AL in RBIs, is tied for second in multi-hit games (33), third in WAR (4.8), fifth in batting average, fifth in OPS (.966) and fifth in runs scored (64).
"It's obviously disappointing, but at the same time I've got to focus now on what I can control, and that's hopefully having a successful surgery and focusing on my rehab and hopefully be back late September so I'll be able to play in the playoffs, at least," Correa said.
Third baseman Alex Bregman, who was a shortstop in college, will get more time at shortstop, with Marwin Gonzalez continuing to play multiple positions, including shortstop, third base and left field. Colin Moran was called up from Triple-A Fresno and can play first and third base.
The Astros began Tuesday with a 15 1/2-game lead in the AL West, so they should be able to withstand Correa's absence without it affecting their chances for a division title or home-field advantage in the AL. Houston is 10 1/2 games clear of Boston, which has the second-best record in the AL.
"It's a tough blow," Astros manager A.J. Hinch. "He's a big presence in our lineup, on our team. To see someone go down like that, it's tough for everybody. We'll absorb it and have the next man up and continue to play and get him better. We'll welcome him back sometime in September and move on, but there's no doubt that it's a punch in the gut when one of your best players is down for a while."
This is the first trip to the disabled list for Correa, though he did have ankle surgery in 2014 after suffering a season-ending fractured right fibula in June of that year at Class A Lancaster.
"At this point of the season, you don't want to get hurt," he said. "You want to keep playing. It's been a fun season so far for this team. I feel like my other surgery was more threatening to my career since it was on the ankle and was a little more complicated. This one, the doctors told me 100 percent of the players come back to normal, so that makes me feel good. As I said before, I'm focused on what I can control now and that's what's next."
Fantasy spin | Fred Zinkie (@FredZinkieMLB)
Hitting .320 with 20 home runs in an Astros lineup that entered Tuesday leading MLB with 551 runs, Correa was the consensus top fantasy shortstop prior to landing on the DL. Given his difference-making ability, the 22-year-old should be stashed in all formats during his prolonged absence. Shallow-league Correa owners can check waivers for a replacement such as Orlando Arcia or Hernan Perez, and those in deeper leagues can take a look at Timothy Beckham or Asdrubal Cabrera.