Pirates closer Joel Hanrahan misses save chance with hamstring injury

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Joel Hanrahan was unavailable out of the Pirates’ bullpen last night because of a hamstring injury, so Juan Cruz got a rare save opportunity and closed out a 5-4 win over the Diamondbacks.

Tom Singer of MLB.com reports that Hanrahan tweaked his hamstring while throwing the final pitch of his Sunday save versus the Giants and “remains day-to-day with tightness in that area.”

Hanrahan said last night that he’s hoping to be available again Friday or Saturday, which would be nearly a week since the initial injury and means any further setback puts a disabled list stint in play.

He was fantastic last year with a 1.83 ERA and 40 saves in his first full season as a closer, but Hanrahan has gotten just one save chance so far this year. Last night’s save was surprisingly just the fourth of Cruz’s career despite his being a late-inning reliever with bat-missing stuff since 2004.

Report: Jose Altuve underwent right knee surgery on Friday

Jose Altuve
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Astros’ star second baseman José Altuve underwent surgery on his right knee, MLB.com’s Brian McTaggart reports. Neither the specifics of the surgery nor a concrete timetable for the infielder’s recovery have been officially confirmed by the club yet.

Altuve, 28, suffered the injury in July after he jammed his knee on a close play at third base. Even after he completed an initial 3.5-week stint on the 10-day disabled list, chronic knee pain continued to dog him in the months that followed. As manager A.J. Hinch told reporters on Thursday, he would have held the second baseman out of the lineup under any other circumstances, but instead chose to commend Altuve for showing up and pushing through the pain as the Astros tried for a repeat championship title this postseason.

Per McTaggart, the Astros expect Altuve to make a full recovery by spring. The perennial All-Star infielder finished his 2018 run with a .316/.386/.451 batting line, 13 home runs, and an .837 OPS through 599 plate appearances. He fared slightly worse during Houston’s ALDS and ALCS campaigns, slashing .265/.324/.412 with three extra-base hits over 37 PA. The Astros were eliminated by the Red Sox during Thursday’s 4-1 loss in ALCS Game 5.