Injuries to pair of Astros stars could not have come at a worse time

Pretty much the last thing the Astros needed was more injury issues, but here we are.
Houston Astros v Toronto Blue Jays
Houston Astros v Toronto Blue Jays / Mark Blinch/GettyImages

The Houston Astros are no strangers to the injury bug that has plagued Major League Baseball in 2024. The Astros lost both Jose Urquidy and Cristian Javier to season-ending elbow surgeries, and we still don't know exactly when Justin Verlander and Kyle Tucker are going to return from the IL except that it won't be happening before the All-Star break.

Despite those trials and tribulations, the Astros have found a way to thrive again. They had MLB's best record in June, and while they just lost a series to the Minnesota Twins over the weekend, things still looked very promising for Houston heading into the trade deadline.

However, one reason the Astros lost to the Twins was because of even more injuries to players they could ill-afford to lose. Not only did Jose Altuve get hit in the hand and have to leave a game, but Yordan Álvarez also was forced to miss some time after taking a pitch off his knee.

Astros News: Jose Altuve seems to avoid serious injury, but Yordan Alvarez's status is concerning

We'll start with the good news. While Altuve did have to leave Friday's win over Minnesota after a pitch caught him on the hand, he indicated he was feeling better after the game and, after a brief scare, was back in the lineup on Sunday. Given that he recorded a hit and a RBI in the game and didn't show any issues, Houston may have dodged a bullet there.

The same cannot be said for Álvarez, who was out of the lineup on Sunday after getting hurt in Saturday's contest. Álvarez indicated that where he got hit on his knee was the same spot where he'd just been hit a couple of weeks ago, and that that first injury hadn't fully healed when he took HBP No. 2 to the spot. Álvarez also said he was still very sore, and all indications are that the Astros are going to be very careful with how they handle their prized DH in the coming days.

The timing here is terrible. With Altuve (probably) still sore and Álvarez potentially needing some downtime, the Astros find themselves not at full strength leading into the All-Star break. Said break will at least buy both guys some time to get fully healthy again, but Houston is in the middle of a pivotal stretch of games this week with the Seattle Mariners cratering, and it is unclear as to how much they can realistically expect from two of their best hitters. It would take a pretty brutal stroke of luck for these issues to alter the Astros' trade deadline plans, but nothing seems impossible given how 2024 has gone so far.

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