4:38pm: Baker announced Alvarez will undergo surgery on a partial tear of his right patella tendon and miss the rest of the season, Brian McTaggart of MLB.com tweets.
1:12pm: The Astros welcomed reigning AL Rookie of the Year Yordan Alvarez back for one game before knee troubles forced him from the lineup and eventually landed him on the injured list. Now, manager Dusty Baker tells Ross Villarreal of Sports Talk 790 in Houston that the slugger’s season is in jeopardy (Twitter link). “Yordan Alvarez, it looks like he’s done, maybe for the year,” Baker said of his designated hitter.
Knee troubles are nothing new for Alvarez, as he dealt with discomfort throughout his excellent rookie season and was hobbled during the original iteration of Spring Training as well. Details on the status of his knees have always been somewhat muddled, though. And as Chandler Rome of the Houston Chronicle points out (via Twitter), the Jeff Luhnow/A.J. Hinch regime and the James Click/Dusty Baker-led Astros have both been similarly vague when it comes to discussing Alvarez’s knees.
It’s been an injury-decimated season for the Astros. Justin Verlander has made just one start, while closer Roberto Osuna has been diagnosed with UCL damage. Brad Peacock and Jose Urquidy have yet to pitch. Right-hander Chris Devenski, Austin Pruitt and Rogelio Armenteros are all out with elbow troubles. On the position-player side of things, George Springer has been slowed by wrist troubles, and Houston has both Michael Brantley (quadriceps strain) and Aledmys Diaz (groin strain) on the 10-day IL at the moment.
Houston has reeled off six straight wins, boosting its record to 13-10 and surging back into the AL West race. They still trail the division-leading Athletics by two and a half games, but as the current second-place team in the AL West, they’re squarely in postseason position. The ’Stros have received huge performances from rookies Brandon Bielak and Cristian Javier in the rotation, which has helped to keep them afloat amid that barrage of injuries. Their schedule between now and the Aug. 31 trade deadline includes two games in Colorado, three in San Diego, three at home against the Angels and another three at home against the A’s. Houston’s play over the next two weeks will likely determine the deadline strategy, and that final three-game set against Oakland could be particularly pivotal in that regard.