The Astros announced Wednesday that outfielder/DH Yordan Alvarez and second baseman Jose Altuve have been reinstated from the injured list. First baseman/outfielder Bligh Madris and infielder David Hensley were optioned to Triple-A in a corresponding pair of moves.
Alvarez, who just turned 26 last month, has cemented himself as one of the sport’s best young hitters in recent seasons. He boasts a .277/.388/.589 slash and 17 homers in just 232 plate appearances this season but has missed more than six weeks due to an oblique strain.
The Astros have posted a solid .252/.323/.433 line as a team even since Alvarez’s injury, but it’s still difficult to overstate just how big a boost his return will provide. Houston general manager Dana Brown has been quite candid about his desire to add a left-handed bat prior to next week’s trade deadline, but Alvarez’s return will at least lessen some of the urgency for such an acquisition.
Altuve has also been on the shelf with an oblique strain, though his wasn’t as severe as the one sustained by Alvarez. He hit the IL nearly a month after his teammate, on July 4, but will nonetheless return on the same day — just three weeks after landing on the shelf.
It’s been an even more frustrating season for Altuve than for Alvarez, from a health standpoint. He missed nearly two months early in the season after suffering a broken thumb during the World Baseball Classic and has only managed to get into the lineup for 32 of the Astros’ games this year. He’s been characteristically excellent when on the field, batting .264/.371/.479 with a career-best 14% walk rate in 143 trips to the plate.
It’s a major pair of returns for Houston that’ll augment the lineup more than any trade might have, but the ’Stros still figure to be active between now and next Tuesday. In addition to Brown’s stated desire to add a left-handed bat with some defensive versatility, he’s also been open about his hopes to add a starting pitcher and a reliever while trades are still permitted.