Jose Altuve Needs Surgery After Fracturing Thumb in World Baseball Classic

World Baseball Classic Quarterfinals: United States v Venezuela
World Baseball Classic Quarterfinals: United States v Venezuela / Eric Espada/GettyImages

The Astros will be without their catalyst to start the season

The Astros' road to a repeat is off to a rocky start. Both Yordan Alvarez and Michael Brantley have yet to hit in a Spring Training game, and with Opening Day now only 12 days out, they are without their face of the franchise.

The fears of a serious injury were confirmed, after the Astros announced Altuve will undergo surgery to repair his fractured right thumb. As of now, there is no timeline for a return, and an update will be provided after the surgery is completed.

Surgery is a couple of days out, as doctors must wait for the swelling to go down.

This is a massive blow to the Astros lineup. Simply put, they go as Altuve goes. Altuve played in 96 of the Astros 106 victories. In the 96 victories Tuve was on the field for, he hit .334 with 28 doubles, 23 home runs and a 1.034 OPS. That type of production simply cannot be replaced.

Dana Brown is well aware of Altuve's impact, saying the following:

"It’s a massive blow You can’t replace a player like this this close to the season. These players don’t exist. You just can’t go out and replace this type of a player."

Dana Brown

Altuve said he knew as soon as he was hit by the pitch that his thumb was broken.

While this shouldn't be a season ending injury, it does have quite an impact. Questions now surround who will bat leadoff for the Astros and how they replace Altuve at second base. Do they rely primarily on David Hensley or Mauricio Dubon? Either way, they now possess less utility options.

As for Altuve, he has a realistic chance at becoming one of the last hitters in MLB history to reach 3,000 hits. With the amount of off-days built into the schedule now and the emphasis on walks and hits for damage rather than racking up singles, the days of 3,000 hits are numbered.

Jose already lost roughly 100 games worth of hits in the COVID-shortened 2020 season, and while he should still return in time to surpass 2,000 career hits this season, two months missed means in the last three years, Altuve will have missed a full season's worth of hits. That's quite a blow to his chase for 3,000.

Milestones and titles aside, there are very few better humans in the MLB than Jose Altuve. His health and well-being are more important than anything else. Get well soon, Jose!