It’s a bad day for top prospects and injuries. First the Cardinals aren’t ready to put Oscar Taveras into a game because his ankle isn’t fully healed and now the Mariners announced that Taijuan Walker will be shut down for at least a week after an exam revealed shoulder inflammation.
Walker complained of shoulder soreness two weeks ago, but then threw a bullpen session last week and said afterward that he “felt great.” He was sent to Los Angeles to meet with a doctor anyway and now his status for Opening Day is in question, with manager Lloyd McClendon predictably saying the team plans to be very cautious because “we’re not just talking about 2014, we’re hopefully talking about the next 15 years.”
Hisashi Iwakuma is already out for 4-6 weeks with a finger injury, so the Mariners’ rotation is suddenly in flux.
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.