Jose Altuve breaks thumb in Venezuela's World Baseball Classic loss to Team USA, will undergo surgery
Venezuela second baseman and Houston Astros All-Star Jose Altuve suffered a broken right thumb when he was hit by a pitch in a World Baseball Classic quarterfinal against Team USA and will require surgery in coming days, the Astros said Sunday.
Altuve was hit in the right hand by a Daniel Bard pitch during the fifth inning Saturday night at Miami's LoanDepot Park and replaced by pinch runner Luis Rengifo. While Rengifo scored one of Venezuela's four runs in the go-ahead rally, Team USA came back to eliminate Venezuela 9-7 on Trea Turner's grand slam.
Altuve returned to Astros camp in West Palm Beach on Sunday morning and general manager Dana Brown announced there is no timetable for Altuve's return. Altuve, the 2017 American League MVP who turns 33 in May, is an eight-time All-Star and Brown told reporters his loss is a "massive blow."
The Astros, the reigning World Series champions, will likely be without Altuve well into May. They open the season March 30, hosting the Chicago White Sox at Minute Maid Park.
Jose Altuve leaves the game after being hit in the hand by a pitch. pic.twitter.com/Dzd9phTnnK
— FOX Sports: MLB (@MLBONFOX) March 19, 2023
WBC: USA advances to semifinals on Trea Turner grand slam vs. Venezuela
Altuve becomes the second All-Star and key performer for a playoff club to suffer a significant injury in the WBC. New York Mets All-Star closer Edwin Diaz suffered a ruptured patella tendon in the postgame revelry of Puerto Rico's elimination game against the Dominican Republic on Wednesday.
Utilitymen Mauricio Dubon and David Hensley would be in line to assume some of Altuve's duties at second base. The Astros will update Altuve's possible timeline after he undergoes surgery.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Jose Altuve breaks thumb during Venezuela's WBC loss to USA