The 2019 American League All-Star team could be missing its best double-play combination.
Shortstop Carlos Correa and second baseman José Altuve, teammates with the Houston Astros, are both nursing injuries that might keep them sidelined beyond the July 9 game in Cleveland.
Both have been bothered by a series of mishaps since the 2019 season began.
Correa missed the first three games of the season with a neck injury, while Altuve has suffered the after-effects of off-season knee surgery, a left hamstring strain, and fatigue in his right leg. His .243 batting average hasn’t helped his spirit much either.
It’s a good thing the Astros lead the American League West by 7.5 games because their glut of injuries coincides with a hot streak by the second-place Oakland Athletics, who recently reeled off a 10-game winning streak.
Coupled with injuries to outfielder George Springer, a former World Series MVP, and several other members of the 25-man roster, the Astros are trying their best to stay afloat in a turbulent sea.
Compounding the felony is the way Correa landed on the crowded IL: he cracked a rib during a massage at home and is expected to be lost for as long as six weeks.
“I’m extremely disappointed about not being on the field with my teammates,” he told reporters who cover the club. “I sustained the rib fracture during a massage at my home Tuesday. To sustain an injury in such an unusual way makes it even more frustrating. However, I will work hard to get back on the field as quickly as possible to help our team achieve our goal of winning another championship.”
The 2015 AL Rookie of the Year, Correa has had injury issues before. The Puerto Rican shortstop had a thumb injury (torn ligament) in 2017 and missed a month with a back problem last year.
Altuve has also had problems. After he hurt his knee last July, he was disabed for the first time in his career. By the time the Astros reached the Championship Series, he was limited to designated hitter duty for the last three games.
His .316 career average seems likely to take a major plunge as a result.
Altuve, a 29-year-old Venezuelan who was American League MVP in 2017, has led the league in hits four times – in consecutive seasons from 2014-17 – and won batting crowns three batting crowns, most recently in 2016-17.
At 5’6″ tall, the 165-pound right-handed hitter is the shortest man in the majors, though he could be challenged by Atlanta’s Ozzie Albies, also a second baseman.
Correa, on the other hand, is a big guy at 6’4″ and 215 pounds. But he’s never managed more than 24 homers – a figure little Altuve has reached twice.
Getting both back soon is a priority for Houston pilot A.J. Hinch.
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