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Alvarez goes on IL; Springer MRI negative

@brianmctaggart
August 18, 2020

HOUSTON -- Astros slugger Yordan Alvarez is set to get a second opinion on the ailing right knee that landed him back on the 10-day injured list on Tuesday after he had played in just two games, manager Dusty Baker said after Houston's 2-1, 11-inning win over Colorado. Alvarez, 23,

HOUSTON -- Astros slugger Yordan Alvarez is set to get a second opinion on the ailing right knee that landed him back on the 10-day injured list on Tuesday after he had played in just two games, manager Dusty Baker said after Houston's 2-1, 11-inning win over Colorado.

Alvarez, 23, underwent an MRI on Monday that showed no damage to his knee after he was scratched from the lineup on Sunday and held out of Monday’s game. Following a bout with coronavirus that kept him out of Summer Camp and forced him to miss the first three weeks of the regular season, Alvarez was activated on Friday and homered in his first at-bat.

“I got a lot of concern for Yordan,” Baker said. “He barely got back from the coronavirus, and now this. He’s going to get a second opinion, I think, and we’ll see what turns out from there.”

With Alvarez and veteran outfielder Michael Brantley on the IL, the Astros are without two of their key bats. Last year, Alvarez hit .313 with 27 homers and 78 RBIs in 87 games, becoming a unanimous choice for AL Rookie of the Year. His 1.067 OPS is a Major League record by a rookie in a single season and the sixth highest by a player 22 years old or younger since 1900.

Springer sits

Just minutes before first pitch on Tuesday, the Astros announced that center fielder George Springer was scratched with soreness in his right wrist. Springer was out of the lineup for five consecutive games with a strained right wrist last week and may have aggravated it diving into first base on Monday. Myles Straw started in his place and came up clutch, as his RBI single in the 11th inning gave the Astros the win that extended their winning streak to six games.

Baker said that an MRI performed on Springer came up negative; he could have pinch-hit, but Baker was reluctant to use him in case the game went into extended innings and Springer was forced to get multiple at-bats.

“He wasn’t feeling that well,” Baker said.

Taylor, Bielak sharing big league dream

Two of the Astros’ biggest contributors this season have been rookie pitchers Blake Taylor and Brandon Bielak, who teamed with Josh James and Brooks Raley to throw a two-hitter against the Rockies on Tuesday. Taylor and Bielak have also teamed up to live together in Houston this season while they figure out life in the big leagues together.

“It’s fun, going back to the same place, talking about the games and just living our dreams,” Bielak said after allowing one run in six innings on Monday. “It kind of still seems surreal, but it’s definitely awesome having that guy by my side.”

Taylor, acquired in a trade with the Mets in December, has been scoreless in nine of his first 10 big league outings this season, striking out 12 batters in 11 2/3 innings. With veteran Ryan Pressly unavailable on Monday, manager Dusty Baker turned to Taylor to close out the 2-1 win over the Rockies, which he did with three fly-ball outs.

“I'm going to get a shadowbox made, with my jersey, my first save, my first strikeout, my first win and then both of the lineup cards,” Taylor said. “Then I'm going to kind of put it in my house and remember those days for the rest of my life. “

Bielak, meanwhile, was thrown into the rotation early in the season, replacing James, and has posted a 1.69 ERA in three starts.

“Planned it out just like we talked about,” Bielak said.

Brian McTaggart has covered the Astros since 2004, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter.