The Astros are exchanging one offensive star for another, as Yuli Gurriel was activated off the 10-day injured list today, but outfielder Kyle Tucker is now heading to the IL. No specific reason was given for Tucker’s placement beyond health and safety protocols.
Gurriel’s IL stint retroactively began on August 3, so he is back after a minimal absence due to neck stiffness. The 37-year-old will now resume what has been the finest of his six MLB seasons, as Gurriel is hitting .324/.388/.490 with 12 home runs over 417 plate appearances as Houston’s everyday first baseman. Gurriel has delivered both quality contact and quantity, as he has one of the lowest strikeout rates of any player in baseball — he has almost as many walks (41) as strikeouts (45) this season.
Tucker isn’t far off Gurriel’s overall offensive production, as the outfielder has 22 homers and a .272/.334/.519 slash line over 420 plate appearances. The non-specific nature of Tucker’s placement would hint that his absence is related to COVID-19, though it could be due to contact tracing or general symptoms rather than an actual positive test for the coronavirus. (As a reminder, teams aren’t obligated to publicly disclose reasons why a player is on the COVID list.) Tucker already spent a week on the COVID list in June for precautionary reasons after he displayed flu-like symptoms.