Astros promote versatile Matijevic in response to injury

(Photo by John E. Moore III/Getty Images)
(Photo by John E. Moore III/Getty Images) /

Astros select contract of first baseman J.J. Matijevic in response to injury.

Jose Altuve hit the 10-day injured list with a left-hamstring strain Wednesday, retroactive to April 19. In response, the Houston Astros selected the contract of J.J. Matijevic from Triple-A Sugar Land to replace Altuve on the active roster, moving Taylor Jones to the 60-day to free open a 40-man roster spot.

The path to Major League Baseball didn’t look clear for Matijevic to open the year, but with two injuries to the infielding corp, the first baseman gets his first steps into the highest level of professional baseball.

Matijevic is a primary first baseman, holding most of his minor-league innings at the position, but the right-hander can play the outfield, too. Not much versatility is seen across other infield positions, but he adds two gloves to the Astros’ bench.

The lefty hitter slashed .310/.420/.714 in 42 Triple-A at-bats this season, wracking in eight extra-base hits and 10 RBI. Matijevic also stole four bags in 11 games, while only having six in over 100 games in 2021. Speed and power were the highlights of the 26-year-old’s hot start to the 2022 season.

Matijevic played last night in Tacoma for the Sugar Land Space Cowboys, going 2-for-5 with a run, a double, an RBI and a stolen base.

With Jones’ rehab not progressing as planned, the first baseman was replaced with a left-handed bat. Matijevic’s stay on the 28-man roster will likely be over once Altuve returns, but without a clear timetable and light hints about a short stay on the shelf, the time of a return is unknown.

The Astros now have two players — Jones and Lance McCullers Jr. — on the 60-day injured list, back dated to the start of the season when they were placed on the 10-day.

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Matijevic will wear No. 13, last worn by infielder Abraham Toro and Jacob Wilson in 2021. Option rules are also suspended until May 2, meaning the Astros will have Matijevic and Joe Perez as infield depth with five possible options this season.