The Houston Astros have met their first real challenge of 2017. All-Star shortstop Carlos Correa will miss 6-to-8 weeks after tearing a ligament in his thumb during Monday’s game.
Correa injured himself during a swing attempt during the fourth inning of the team’s 9-7 loss to the Seattle Mariners. He had to leave the contest in the middle of the at-bat.
Correa was diagnosed with a jammed thumb after the game, but the team said he would have the injury evaluated Tuesday. That evaluation revealed the torn ligament. Correa will undergo surgery to repair it.
Correa said the injury is “obviously disappointing.”
Carlos Correa will have surgery on his thumb, he says in this video.
“It’s obviously disappointing,” Correa said. pic.twitter.com/47bQ9H5c7Q
— Brian McTaggart (@brianmctaggart) July 18, 2017
The loss is significant for Houston on the field. Correa is putting up MVP-caliber numbers this season. The 22-year-old is hitting .320/.400/.566, with 20 home runs, over 375 plate appearances.
While the Astros will miss his production, they may not have to make a huge move to replace Correa. The team leads the American League West by 15.5 games. At 62-31, they are easily the best team in the American League. Even without Correa they should be just fine.
Still, it might behoove them to make a small add as the deadline approaches. While Correa should return a few weeks before the playoffs, it wouldn’t hurt to pick up some insurance. If Correa has a setback or struggles once he returns, Houston will appreciate having someone dependable at short.
It’s possible an acceptable replacement could come from within the organization. The team called up 24-year-old infielder Colin Moran from Triple-A on Tuesday. Moran is hitting .308/.373/.543, with 18 home runs, over 338 plate appearances this season.
He ranked 61 on Baseball America’s top-100 prospect list in 2014, but hasn’t appeared on the list since. Moran has only played three games at short in the minors, so the team will have to get creative with its roster in order to replace Correa and get Moran in the lineup.
Correa’s injury comes as a blow, but happened at the right time. He will be back by the postseason and that’s all that matters. At full strength, the Astros have proven to be close to unbeatable this season. That’s still on the table come October.
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