Yordan Álvarez returns from IL, makes immediate impact for struggling Astros

The Houston Astros were in need of a boost. After winning an MLB-leading 107 games in 2019, they entered play Friday at just 8-10 with nearly a third of the 2020 completed.

But things are looking up in Houston now. On Friday, the team activated last year’s American League Rookie of the Year, Yordan Álvarez, from the Injured List. Álvarez, 23, has not played in a game this season. The team has not disclosed why Álvarez was placed on the IL.

After confirming Álvarez’s return on Friday, the young slugger was immediately placed in the lineup in his customary designated hitter slot. He made an immediate impact, launching a three-run home run as part of Houston’s nine-run first inning against the Seattle Mariners.

It was Álvarez’s only hit, but it set the tone for Houston’s 11-1 win.

Can Yordan Álvarez get the Astros back on the right track?

While the Astros are just 9-10, and George Springer and José Altuve have struggled at the plate, offense hasn’t been a major issue for the team this season. The Astros’ 106 wRC+ — an advanced stat that measures a team’s offensive prowess relative to league average — ranks 9th in baseball.

Still, there’s no doubt Álvarez’s bat will improve that rank. We already saw evidence of that. As a rookie, he hit an incredible .313/.412/.655 in 369 plate appearances — rating as one of the best hitters in baseball. If he can hit the ground running, and both Altuve and Springer can get back on track, the Astros could once again boast a top-3 offense in baseball as they try to chase down the Oakland A’s in the AL West.

More from Yahoo Sports: