BUFFALO, N.Y. -- The Astros will be without utility player Aledmys Díaz for approximately six to eight weeks after he sustained a fractured left hand in Saturday’s loss to the Blue Jays, manager Dusty Baker said on Sunday. Díaz was struck on the left hand in the second inning on a pitch thrown by Blue Jays starter Ross Stripling.
The loss of Díaz is a big blow considering he’s the most versatile player on the team and was swinging the bat well this season, hitting .278/.341/.435 with three homers and 18 RBIs in 34 games. Baker said Díaz will see a hand specialist this week.
“All our prayers go out to him,” Baker said. “I went out and prayed by the water by Lake Erie yesterday that it wasn’t too serious or take too long. It was kind of a downer to be such a valuable part of his club and valuable person on the club. We’ve got to find a way to push on.”
Díaz has started games at every position except center field and catcher this year, and Baker said on Friday that he was their third catcher in an emergency. He’s started seven games in left field, six games at third base and second base, four games at first base, three at shortstop and one in right field. He’s also started at designated hitter twice.
There’s no one in the organization with that kind of versatility who can produce at the plate like Díaz has this year. Robel García, claimed off waivers from the Angels on Feb. 27, is a switch-hitter currently on the 26-man roster who can play shortstop, second base and third base. At Triple-A, Alex De Goti has played all four infield spots and left field, and switch-hitter Abraham Toro can play first, second and third.
“Somebody else has to step up,” Baker said. “This gives somebody else a chance to prove themselves and also to add to their value to this club. I don’t know if you can replace what Díaz does. Everybody else has to pick up more of the slack and do more in themselves. That’s the bottom line. Nobody’s going to feel sorry for you. I can tell you that right now. We’ll have to come together, closer and tighter than we are.”
The Astros, who are off on Monday, didn’t immediately make a roster move to replace Díaz for Sunday and will instead play shorthanded. They’re expected to get veteran outfielder Michael Brantley (right hamstring) off the injured list for Tuesday’s game against the Red Sox in Boston.
Díaz, 30, has spent as much time on the injured list as he did playing in his two years with the Astros, missing 86 games (56 in 2019 and 30 last year) with injuries while appearing in 86 regular-season games. He said he lost some weight in the offseason with hopes of avoiding the soft-tissue injures that had been landing him on the IL.