4:45pm: Correa has issued a statement on the injury, which occurred off the field (Twitter link via The Athletic’s Jake Kaplan):
“I’m extremely disappointed about not being on the field with my teammates. I sustained the rib fracture during a massage at my home on 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.”
10:57am: Astros star Carlos Correa has been diagnosed with a fractured rib, Mark Berman of FOX 26 reported (via Twitter) and the team has since announced. He’s expected to be sidelined for four to six weeks and will obviously be headed for a stint on the injured list.
It’s a disappointing development for the Houston organization and its 24-year-old shortstop, who had hoped for a fully healthy season on the heels of an injury-limited 2018 campaign. Fortunately, it does not appear this issue is connected to the back and oblique issues Correa experienced last year.
Correa had looked himself in the first fifty games of the new year. Through 214 plate appearances, he carries a hefty .295/.360/.547 batting line with 11 home runs — good for a 143 wRC+.
The injury doesn’t change Correa’s revived outlook at the plate, but it will again impact his earning power. He took down a $5MM salary after winning an arbitration hearing against the ’Stros. That’s a nice start, but not the kind of scratch he’d have commanded with a typical and healthy platform season. Missing time this year will similarly limit his ability to build up a raise in his second (and second-to-last) season of arb eligibility.
This being the Astros, there are still ample possibilities on hand. Alex Bregman would be a superstar at shortstop had he not been bumped to third base due to Correa, so he can slide over. The team can shift Yuli Gurriel to third, but after that it’ll need to rely on less-established players.
Infielder/outfielder Myles Straw has been summoned from Triple-A to take the open roster spot. He has played almost exclusively as an outfielder as a professional, but began spending time at shortstop this year at Triple-A. Straw and the just-promoted Jack Mayfield could share time at second base and chip in on the left side of the infield.
Both those players have a good case for a chance at the majors, though it’d be unreasonable to expect them to fill the shoes of Correa and Altuve. Houston GM Jeff Luhnow said he’d at least take a look at the external options, as MLB.com’s Brian McTaggart tweets, though he noted that he’s comfortable with the organization’s overall middle-infield depth.