Astros first baseman Yuli Gurriel left Astros camp and flew back to Houston the other day after experiencing discomfort around his left hand and wrist. Bad news was delivered today: he’s undergoing surgery to remove the hook of the hamate bone in his left hand.
Hamate surgery is pretty major for a hitter. The typical timeline for recovery is six to eight weeks, but Astros General Manager Jeff Luhnow said Houston is looking at a five to six week recovery period.
With Gurriel gone, Marwin Gonzalez will likely be the Astros’ starting first baseman for at least the first part of the 2018 season.
Bryce Harper has, in recent years, declined participation in the Home Run Derby, with his last go at it coming in 2013, losing to Yoenis Cespedes in the final round. With the All-Star Game taking place at Nationals Park in Washington, however, he has changed his mind, saying today that he will compete if he is selected for the All-Star team.
Harper is currently second in voting among National League outfielders, so he stands a pretty good chance of making it. Even if he falls off in the voting, you have to assume that the powers that be will nudge NL manager A.J. Hinch to select Harper as a reserve, partially because of his actual power — he does have 19 homers so far this year — but mostly for his star power.
Simply put, you know dang well that both Major League Baseball and the Nationals want a home town guy with big time star power in the Derby, even if he’s not having as good a year as he’s capable of. As such, figure to see Harper hitting long balls in D.C. on July 16.