Injuries are a constant factor for all 30 teams throughout the season. Despite most players being eased in, Spring Training can provide the same injury issues as any other part of the baseball season. Injuries are impacting teams across the league and it is definitely the case on the Houston Astros. There are a couple stars still sitting out, while a couple future stars will miss an extended period of time. Here is an Astros Spring Training injury update, three weeks from Opening Day.
Astros Sluggers On The Mend
The two most high-profile injured players are DH Yordan Alvarez and third-baseman Alex Bregman. Alvarez is still recovering from surgery on both knees that ended his 2020 season. Bregman is dealing with a tweaked hamstring that occurred at the beginning of Spring Training. The team is taking a very cautious approach regarding their stars and easing them into action. Neither have made their Spring Training debuts, but those days appear to be coming soon.
Earlier in the week, it appeared Bregman was closer to game action, however manager Dusty Baker changed his tone a few days ago. On Tuesday, Baker said Alvarez is on track to make his Astros Spring Training debut first. While Alvarez could make his return first, Bregman should not be far behind. The goal is for both sluggers to see game action by the end of next week.
Catcher Jason Castro has dealt with an oblique injury and hasn’t seen game action since March 2. Houston is hoping he can return soon as well.
Astros Pitching Injuries
Unfortunately, the Astros have had a number of pitcher injuries with a pair of important arms expected to miss extended time. Framber Valdez fractured his ring finger on his pitching hand in his Spring Training debut. The diagnosis was extremely grim, as surgery would likely spell the end of his 2021 season. Valdez is holding out hope that he can avoid surgery and return this year, but this is up in the air at the moment.
Top prospect Forrest Whitley received rough news of his own when it was decided that Tommy John surgery was necessary. It is perhaps the biggest blow to Whitley’s young, injury-filled career. The 23-year old has dealt with forearm, shoulder, oblique, and elbow injuries as well as a suspension by the Minor League Drug Prevention and Treatment Program, over his minor league career.
A reminder of the times we are still in, reliever Pedro Baez is on the Injured List due to a positive COVID-19 test. Hopefully this virus is on its way out, but in the meantime this will be an issue teams must handle over the coming season. Baez will have to make it through the protocols, but his return should not be too far away.
Josh James and Austin Pruitt will miss the beginning of the season due to hip and elbow injuries respectively. There is not a clear timetable for returns, but the team did say that James will not be placed on the 60-Day Injured List to start the season. They believe James will return before sixty days, but there is nothing concrete at the moment.
Houston will be receiving reinforcements in Alvarez and Bregman very soon. The addition of Jake Odorizzi will definitely help the cause as well. Health will be key in 2021 especially if the Astros want to return to the top of the American League West.
Embed from Getty Images
Players Mentioned: Yordan Alvarez, Alex Bregman, Jason Castro, Framber Valdez, Forrest Whitley, Pedro Baez, Josh James, Austin Pruitt, Jake Odorizzi.
Manager Mentioned: Dusty Baker.
Braden Herb is a writer for Last Word On Baseball, a Communications Major at UTSA, Blog Owner of SportsTakeThisWeek.com, and MLB fan. Residing in the great state of Texas, his passions are music and sports (especially baseball!). Other sports interests are the Pittsburgh Steelers and the San Antonio Spurs.