July 19: Correa announced today (via Instagram) that he’s undergone surgery to repair the ligament and that the operation was successful.
July 18,5:18pm: Jake Kaplan of the Houston Chronicle tweets that Gonzalez is likely to see the bulk of playing time at shortstop, though Bregman could play there on days when Gonzalez is needed elsewhere on the field. Gonzalez can play first base, second base and in the corner outfield as well. Regardless, that combination will likely allow the ’Stros to cover Correa’s absence for the next month and a half or so.
3:12pm: The Astros announced devastating injury news today, revealing that shortstop Carlos Correa is expected to miss the next six to eight weeks with a torn ligament in his left thumb. Astros field reporter Julia Morales tweets that the injury will require surgery. Infielder Colin Moran has been recalled to replace Correa, who suffered the injury on a swing in last night’s game.
“Losing a player of Carlos’ caliber for an extended period is a big blow to our club, but I believe we have the roster to persevere and continue to win games,” said GM Jeff Luhnow in a press release announcing the news. “We do expect Carlos to return to the club in September and be ready to contribute down the stretch.”
That injury is the same ailment from which fellow AL West superstar Mike Trout just returned. Trout ultimately missed about six and a half weeks, although no two injuries are created equal, and we obviously don’t know if the extent of the tear is the same in each instance. But, that does serve as somewhat of a rough benchmark for Correa’s return to activity.
The Astros, meanwhile, will soldier on without one of the American League’s foremost MVP candidates for a significant stretch of time. On the plus side, Houston has a 15.5 game lead on the division, so the ’Stros aren’t really at risk of ceding the division to one of their rivals. Furthermore, Houston has a deep roster, with both Alex Bregman and Marwin Gonzalez capable of stepping in to play shortstop on a consistent basis. As such, a trade for someone such as Cincinnati’s Zack Cozart doesn’t seem particularly likely — especially not with Correa expected back well before season’s end.