Yordan (hand) hits IL, eyes post-ASG return

July 10th, 2022

OAKLAND -- The Astros held a comfortable 12-game lead in the AL West entering play on Sunday, and they'll have the chance to gain even more ground with seven straight games against division rivals heading into the All-Star break. But they'll have to do it without fearsome slugger Yordan Alvarez, who is headed to the 10-day injured list with right hand inflammation.

Alvarez was left out of the starting lineup for Sunday's rubber match in Oakland, and manager Dusty Baker confirmed that he was on his way back to Houston for a doctor's visit that afternoon. Outfielder Jose Siri, who has slashed .185/.248/.315 in 45 games with Houston this season, was recalled from Triple-A Sugar Land in a corresponding move.

Alvarez's hand injury first flared up on June 18, when he left the Astros' 7-0 loss to the White Sox in Houston. He did not play the day after his injury, but he returned for Houston's series opener vs. the Mets after an off-day.

"It's gotten progressively worse," Baker said. "First, it was only bothering him to swing and miss, but then it was bothering him every swing after that."

Alvarez played in the first two games of the Astros' series in Oakland, slotting in at designated hitter on Friday and left field on Saturday. Baker said Alvarez did not do anything to reaggravate the injury recently.

"Hands are so important when you hit," Baker said. "The worst part of a hand injury ... is it bothers you in everything that you do. ... We've got to take care of it, or else it could linger for a long time."

With the All-Star break (July 18-20) providing an opportunity for Alvarez to get some extended rest, the team opted to place him on the injured list to recover. Baker hopes that Alvarez will be available when the Astros open the second half of the season with a doubleheader against the Yankees at Minute Maid Park on July 21.

"We'll try to use these three days for the All-Star break to coincide with the 10 [days] that he has to be on the IL," Baker said, "and so hopefully, he'll be okay for the Yankees series."

The 25-year-old power hitter has been putting together an MVP-caliber season, leading the Majors in OPS (1.058), slugging percentage (.653) and at-bats per home run (10.31). Alvarez is a leading candidate to make his first All-Star team in 2022, though he was narrowly edged out for the start at designated hitter by the Angels’ Shohei Ohtani.

This is the second injured-list stint for Alvarez this season, as he missed three games due to MLB's health and safety protocols in April. The slugger has otherwise not missed much time for Houston, playing in 75 of the Astros' 85 games so far in 2022.