Injuries in baseball are never, and I mean absolutely never, fun to see. Astros fans that watched tonight’s game know exactly what I mean by that sentence.
In one sense, the Astros have been quite unlucky when it comes to injuries. After all, Collin McHugh hasn’t even thrown a pitch this season.
Thankfully, it appears that Jose Altuve will be fine going forward. Unfortunately, Teoscar Hernandez may not be so fortunate. Here’s hoping that he bounces back soon and that this left knee contusion, which is what the team is currently calling his injury, doesn’t hold him back.
The scary part is that it’s only April! There is still plenty of baseball, and injury possibilities left to unfold. But let’s just keep that little tidbit out of sight and out of mind.
On the other side of the coin, the Astros have been quite lucky with their injuries. Correa, Springer and Altuve, the team’s “Big Three,” have not missed significant time. Sure, a few games here and there. But in the grand scheme, this shouldn’t be a detriment.
Going forward, the Astros have the immediate concern of outfield depth with Marisnick already on the seven-day disabled list with a concussion and Hernandez likely to join the disabled list shortly. Compounding this issue is Springer’s hamstring, even though it sounds like the Astros are just being careful with him.
The options to help the depleted outfield at this point lie on the 40-man roster in Tony Kemp and Preston Tucker. Besides already being on the 40-man roster, both players have major league experience that could benefit this team. Kemp may have the edge on Tucker given his versatility in the field. Not only can he play center field, but the 25-year old can also switch back to the infield when needed. Tucker, though, brings his bat to the table and he seems to be picking up steam in 2017.
Tucker, 2017 Statistics as of 4/25: .367/.391/.533, 2 HR, 13 RBI, 148 wRC+ in 64 plate appearances
It’ll be interesting to see who the Astros will choose to promote. Like I stated earlier, Kemp could be the likely choice as he can play multiple positions, one of which is center field. Tucker is most likely confined to a corner outfield position unless he suddenly develops the knack to cover center field that we’ve never witness before. But the possibility of adding his bat to Houston is intriguing, albeit still unlikely.
Do not forget that Carlos Beltran and Nori Aoki are also corner outfielders. Josh Reddick, the usual right fielder, has played in center field twice this season, but it is rather doubtful Astros manager A.J. Hinch makes that a regular occurrence. Springer is quite simply the only sure-fire center fielder on this active roster. Regardless, this promotion is likely a short-time gig when you consider that Marisnick is only on the seven-day disabled list.
**Statistics courtesy of Fangraphs**