After a scary incident on the field that saw Alvarez wind up in the hospital on Friday, the Astros have to be ultra-conservative with him from here on out.
The Houston Astros dropped the series opener to their former world series counterparts in Atlanta on Friday, 6-2. The loss was heavily overshadowed, though, by a terrifying incident on the field involving Yordan Alvarez.
While playing the field in the 5th inning, Alvarez suddenly left the game in the middle of an at-bat and was replaced in the lineup by Mauricio Dubon. At first, fans speculated that it could have been the resurfacing of a hand injury that was nagging him for most of July. Then, panic set in when it was reported that an EMT ran across the field to get to the Astros clubhouse. As per the broadcast, it was humid in Atlanta last night, but the temperature was in the low 70s so heat exhaustion seemed unlikely.
After the game, it was revealed that Alvarez felt ill on the field and was taken to hospital because he was suffering from shortness of breath, and the fireworks that followed a 3-run home run by the Braves’ Austin Riley made the issue worse. Alvarez, according to manager Dusty Baker, felt normal after the game and his vitals were good. The fact that he seems to be fine, however, doesn’t make this issue any less serious.
The public doesn’t know what led Alvarez to experience shortness of breath. It’s possible that the doctors in the emergency room couldn’t pinpoint an exact cause either. At the time of writing, there has not been a further announcement on his status. The potential severity of an issue such as this one, though, is exactly why the Astros have to be more careful with their superstar than ever before.
When Alvarez was still playing every other day in late July after returning from his hand injury, fans were growing restless at the lack of transparency from the club about his health. In perspective with what happened last night, however, that doesn’t matter anymore. Whenever he returns to the field, he should get frequent off-days. If he can’t be an everyday player for the rest of the regular season, then so be it. The Astros must ensure that he is in the best shape possible by October and that this incident is extremely unlikely to ever happen again.
An announcement on his status should come either today or at some point before the end of the series. It’s unknown how much time he will miss, but when he is fit to return, the coaching and medical staff should be more careful with his playing time than anybody else’s. This is a franchise-altering talent and shortness of breath could very well end up being a minor issue, but it could also pose a threatening long-term problem.
Astros fans should get used to life without him, even with Aledmys Diaz already on the shelf and Mauricio Dubon, Alvarez’s replacement, crashing into the wall and bruising his arm just a few innings after he came into the game. Planning for the worst with an injury like this isn’t just for the sake of Alvarez’s health, but it could be worth it in case he’s ready to go again in October.