Astros infielder Luis Valbuena will undergo season-ending surgery on his hamstring, manager A.J. Hinch announced to reporters, including MLB.com’s Brian McTaggart (Twitter link with video footage of Hinch’s comments included).
“Valbuena … got some bad news,” said Hinch. “He’s going to have surgery in the next couple days, and his season is over. His hamstring tendon needs to be worked on. He tried to play through it and see if he could rehab it, turns out he couldn’t. Surgery is the next consideration, and he’ll miss the remainder of the season.”
Valbuena went on the disabled list with a hamstring injury back in late July due to a hamstring injury but underwent a setback recently (as MLB.com’s Todd Karpovich wrote over the weekend). His absence will deprive the Astros of what has been a quietly strong left-handed bat, as Valbuena was in the midst of a career year at the plate. In 90 games and 342 plate appearances this season, Valbuena was batting .260/.357/.459 with 13 home runs, 17 doubles and a triple.
While the loss of Valbuena removes a well-above-average bat from the equation for Houston and depletes some of the their depth at both corner infield positions, the Astros are well-equipped to sustain the blow. The recent promotions of Alex Bregman and Yulieski Gurriel gives Hinch a pair of potentially high quality options at third base, while A.J. Reed brings plenty of upside across the diamond at first base. And while both Bregman and Reed got off to rocky starts as Major Leaguers, Bregman is hitting .312/.365/.558 in his past 18 games and Reed is hitting .282/.404/.436 in his past 13 contests.
From Valbuena’s standpoint, the injury is quite poorly timed, as he’s slated to hit free agency this winter and could have done so on the heels of that career-best production. While his overall numbers look plenty appealing, he’ll now need to convince teams of his health and that the hamstring injury he sustained won’t come with any lingering effects that will detract from his performance in 2017 and beyond.