Astros slugger Yordan Alvarez was out of their lineup for the second straight day on Monday on account of right knee soreness, and it doesn’t seem as if a return to a regular role is imminent. While Alvarez’s MRI on Monday came back negative, he may only be a pinch hitter for the club in the near term, Alyson Footer of MLB.com writes. Alvarez’s lack of availability (he didn’t debut until Aug. 14 because of coronavirus-related problems) has been an enormous blow to a Houston team that has also dealt with several other significant health woes in the early going. The club lost yet another standout Saturday when it placed outfielder Michael Brantley on the IL with a right quad injury.
- General manager Rick Hahn issued updates Monday on a pair of injured White Sox, second baseman Nick Madrigal and left-hander Aaron Bummer (Twitter links via James Fegan of The Athletic). The news on Madrigal is encouraging, as Hahn said the rookie has resumed “virtually all baseball activities” and remains on track to return by the end of this month after separating his shoulder Aug. 5. On the other hand, there’s no timetable for Bummer, who went to the IL on Aug. 8 with a left biceps strain. The groundball-heavy Bummer was off to a great start before then and seemed as if he was on his way to a second straight season as one of the game’s most effective relievers. Now, Bummer only has a little more than a month to return to regular-season action, and he’ll have to go through a throwing program before then.
- Twins third baseman Josh Donaldson isn’t dealing with any issues in his recovery from a right calf strain, Betsy Helfand of the St. Paul Pioneer Press tweets. Donaldson went on the IL on Aug. 7, and it remains unclear when the big-money offseason signing will return to their lineup. The 34-year-old came out of the gates slowly prior to the injury, albeit over a mere 27 plate appearances, as he hit .182/.296/.318 with one home run. Nevertheless, The Twins have started 15-8 and sit atop the AL Central – a division they won last season.
- Athletics right-hander Burch Smith headed to the IL over the weekend with a a forearm strain, which is always ominous for a pitcher. Manager Bob Melvin said Monday that Smith does not have any structural damage, but it’s up in the air whether he’ll pitch again in 2020, Matt Kawahara of the San Francisco Chronicle relays. Smith has been part of a slew of organizations, but he finally seemed to find a home in Oakland this season before the injury. The 30-year-old has logged a 2.25 ERA/2.30 FIP with 9.75 K/9 and 0.75 BB/9 in 12 innings from the A’s bullpen.