86 games into the season, it's truly remarkable that the Astros are only three games back in the AL West and on pace for 90 wins. Michael Brantley hasn't played a game for the Astros, and Houston has only played 13 games with both Jose Altuve and Yordan Alvarez in the lineup together.
Just as things were beginning to trend upwards, Houston has been dealt some negative injury news yet again.
Jose Altuve hurt himself during batting practice yesterday, walking off the field with an oblique injury. Altuve missed time earlier this season with an oblique injury, and while the Astros have been careful to bring him back slowly, the oblique again flared up. The severity of the injury is unkown, but according to Dusty Baker, Altuve will undergo an MRI today. Another extended IL stint for Altuve would be a crushing blow for the Astros hopes of winning the divison, but their biggest goal of course is winning the World Series, and in order for that to happen, Altuve has to be right.
As does their All-Star left fielder, Yordan Alvarez. Yordan just began taking swings in the batting cages at about 60 percent intensity, but felt good. Like Altuve, Alvarez is rehabbing from an oblique injury that has kept him out since June 8th. Alvarez recently stood in the box against José Urquidy throwing rehab BP just to get his timing down.
While he won't participate in the All-Star game, Alvarez will travel to Seattle after being named an All-Star. Once he's back from Seattle, he may go on a rehab assignment after the All-Star break.
José Uruqidy has recently been throwing batting practice at Minute Maid, and so far he feels good. When Urquidy went down on April 30th, it was known he would be out until the All-Star break. He will throw again next Tuesday, and depending how that goes, the Astros will decide on a rehab assignment.
Michael Brantley suffered yet another shoulder setback, and while Dana Brown said it wasn't as serious as the previous one, he has still been shutdown. Brown is counting on Brantley playing in August and September, but it wasn't all that long ago Jeff Bagwell said Brantley would be good to go on Opening Day. At this rate, Houston can't afford to keep banking on Brantley. Brown may need to start scouring the trade market for a left-handed bat to replace what they were counting on from Uncle Mike.
On a positive note, Jeremy Peña is back in the Astros lineup today after battling a stiff neck. He will bat eighth and play short.