HOUSTON -- Astros All-Star second baseman Jose Altuve and right-hander Lance McCullers could both be headed for offseason surgery.Altuve dealt with a sore right knee in the second half of the season and into the playoffs, and it was bothering him so much during the American League Championship Series that
HOUSTON -- Astros All-Star second baseman Jose Altuve and right-hander Lance McCullers could both be headed for offseason surgery.
Altuve dealt with a sore right knee in the second half of the season and into the playoffs, and it was bothering him so much during the American League Championship Series that manager AJ Hinch said Altuve would have landed on the disabled list had it been the regular season.
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"It's difficult, but I'm not a superhero," Altuve said after the Astros were eliminated with a 4-1 loss to the Red Sox in Game 5 on Thursday night at Minute Maid Park. "I'm not the only guy that has done this. There's a lot of guys that are probably playing in worse situations than I."
Altuve injured the knee sliding into second base in late July against the Rockies at Coors Field, forcing him to the DL for the first time in his career. He was limited to designated hitter duties in Games 3, 4 and 5 of the ALCS, and Altuve aggravated the knee in Game 4 while sliding into second base.
"If it was any other time of the year, he wouldn't be in the lineup or wouldn't be playing," Hinch said prior to Game 5.
Neither Altuve nor the team has divulged exactly what's wrong with the knee, which teammate Alex Bregman said after the Game 5 loss to Boston in the ALCS was as swollen "as big as a grapefruit."
"I've got to go talk to the trainers in a couple of days, and I bet we're going to sit down and try to figure out what we know," Altuve said.
McCullers, meanwhile, sustained a right forearm strain on Aug. 4 at Dodger Stadium and he missed six weeks, returning in the final week of the regular season to pitch out of the bullpen. He made five appearances in relief in the playoffs covering five innings.
McCullers was coy when asked about a report stating he was pitching through a tear of his ulnar collateral ligament and was headed for Tommy John surgery, which would put him out for all of 2019.
"We're going to figure all that stuff out," he said. "I'm pretty banged up. Other guys are banged up, too. That's going to be something down the road the next couple of days, the next couple of weeks we'll figure out."
When asked if he was headed for surgery, McCullers said: "We've got to speak with the training staff. I'm going to do my standard postseason MRI stuff, see all the doctors, see how I'm feeling. I've definitely been throwing through some stuff."
Houston starter Charlie Morton was placed on the DL in late August with right shoulder discomfort and had his workload cut back in September to protect his arm. When asked if he was going to have surgery, he wasn't sure.
"Probably try to see how it feels here in the short term and see what needs to be done," said Morton, who's set to become a free agent. "The joint's fine. That's a relief. I'm not really worried about that. But moving forward here in the next week, we'll try to figure something out and see if I need to see somebody, and go from there."
Brian McTaggart has covered the Astros since 2004, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter and listen to his podcast.