Astros: The potential impact of Yuli Gurriel’s hand injury

WEST PALM BEACH, FL - FEBRUARY 21: Yuli Gurriel
WEST PALM BEACH, FL - FEBRUARY 21: Yuli Gurriel /
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A left-hand injury for Yuli Gurriel now provides an opportunity for other Astros in camp.

Yuli Gurriel, the Astros’ primary first baseman last season, has been sent back to Houston for further examination of a left-hand injury.

Anytime a team sends a player to see team doctors. It should be treated with some concern. At the same time, spring training is still young, and there are roughly five weeks before the Astros’ Opening Day on April 2nd. And Gurriel was already suspended for the first five games of the 2018 season. Until further information is provided, it would be premature to flip out about Gurriel’s status.

That said, Gurriel’s absence could open the door for certain players at camp to make the Opening Day roster. Tyler White, A.J. Reed, and J.D. Davis immediately come to mind. Each has been mentioned or rumored as potential additions to the active roster at some point in the off-season. All three have played first base in both the minors and majors. Outside of Reed, White and Davis provide some sort of position versatility.

Based on spring training, Davis is obviously a popular name today.

The young infielder just hit his second home run of the spring on Monday, and he had a double on Sunday. Along with Kyle Tucker and Max Stassi, Davis has been one of the more notable Astros in this first week of games. It’s not outlandish to think that Davis might get the Opening Day nod if he continues to perform.

Losing Gurriel for any amount of time will hurt the Astros. It’s debatable the exact severity of his absence will have on the team, but it will likely be there. While he won’t walk a lot, Gurriel does provide power on occasion and lacks high strikeout numbers. He’s provided the kind of stability at first base that the Astros haven’t had since the days of Lance Berkman.

Next: Max Stassi is making A.J. Hinch’s decision easy early on

Between the likes of Davis, Reed, and White, though, the Astros shouldn’t have any issues finding a dependable replacement for Gurriel.  This author wouldn’t mind seeing Davis get a shot if his spring training performance continues to warrant further consideration.