Jose Altuve cleared for baseball activities, return not yet set

Erik Williams-USA TODAY Sports
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HOUSTON — Jose Altuve resumed some baseball activities, but there still isn’t a timetable for when Houston’s star second baseman will return to the team.

Altuve fractured his right thumb in the World Baseball Classic and had surgery to repair the injury March 22. After his surgery, Astros general manager Dana Brown said he’d be out at least eight weeks.

It’s been six weeks so far, and while Altuve was cleared to return to baseball activities this week – including throwing, running and fielding – he hasn’t been cleared to swing .

“I think right now it’s hard to tell,” Altuve said when asked if he knows when he’ll return. “Anything is possible. I’m working really hard. I want to come back and help these guys to win, but we’ll see.

“I think the next two weeks are really important in my rehab.”

This is the longest the eight-time All-Star and the 2017 American League MVP has ever been sidelined.

“Obviously, it’s really hard,” he said. “It’s something I didn’t plan on, but things happen, and you can’t really do anything about it. I’m just continuing to work hard every day with (trainer) Jeremiah (Randall) and try to come back to the field as quick as I can, but in the meantime, just keep watching these guys play amazing baseball.”

Manager Dusty Baker was glad to see Altuve getting some work in this week, but knows his star has a way to go before he can return to the lineup.

“It’s been hard on him to not play and not contribute and not to help us win. We just have to temper it some not to rush him as badly as we want to, and it’s probably worse for him because he wants to get back again because he loves to play,” Baker said. “We just have to be patient.”

Mauricio Dubón has filled in nicely in Altuve’s absence, entering hitting .305 with seven doubles and six RBIs. He also had a career-long 20-game hitting streak.

Altuve said it’s “awesome” to see Dubón playing so well.

“I’m really happy and proud,” Altuve said. “He deserves it. He’s a great kid. He shows up every day and wanted to play … he’s a team player and just playing amazing. He’s going to keep doing that, and I know he’s going to have a great season and go from there.”

Yankees score runs in final three innings for 4-1 victory over Dodgers

Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
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LOS ANGELES – Despite battling injuries all season, the New York Yankees are still managing to pick up victories.

With AL MVP Aaron Judge sidelined after injuring his foot on Saturday, the Yankees got strong pitching and were able to use a little bit of small ball to beat the Los Angeles Dodgers 4-1 Sunday and take two of three games in the weekend series.

“Just a really good all-around effort. A lot of winning things were happening in that game,” manager Aaron Boone said.

New York plated runs in the seventh and eighth innings on soft-contract grounders before Anthony Volpe provided some insurance with a two-run homer in the ninth.

J.D. Martinez homered for the Dodgers, who dropped the final two games in the series.

Clay Holmes (4-2) pitched one inning to pick up the win, and Wandy Peralta got the last four outs for his fourth save.

It was a pitchers’ duel for six innings between the Yankees’ Domingo Germán and Dodgers’ Bobby Miller. The right-handers matched zeroes as the teams combined for only four hits in the first six innings.

Dodgers’ rookie Miller allowed only one hit in his six innings, becoming the first Dodgers’ pitcher since at least 1901 to allow one hit or fewer within his first three big league starts. The 24-year old right-hander struck out seven and walked two in his third start.

Germán went 6 2/3 innings and allowed one run and four hits, including Martinez’s solo shot to tie it at 1-all in the seventh. The right-hander has limited opponents to one run or fewer in four of his last six starts.

Jake Bauers – who was playing right field in place of Judge – scored the game’s first run in the seventh on Kyle Higashioka‘s broken-bat grounder to short.

Bauers got aboard with a base hit then advanced to third when Brusdar Graterol threw the ball away on Isiah Kiner-Falefa’s bunt.

After Martinez’s homer, the Yankees retook the lead in the eighth against Evan Phillips (1-1). Oswaldo Cabrera drove in Anthony Rizzo with the go-ahead run with a slow roller that second baseman Miguel Vargas could only throw to first.

“It not being hit well helps when the fielders have to move a little. That’s what you’re selling out for. Good job by the base runners there,” Boone said.

Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said both balls could not have been placed any better by the Yankees’ batters.

“I don’t think they had a chance on both balls. The base runners had such a good jump. They were jam shots,” Roberts said. “There were a lot of things we did as far as giving away a couple bases on the defensive side.”

Volpe had two hits after being mired in a 3-for-38 slump his last 11 games. He extended the lead by driving Caleb Ferguson’s fastball over the wall in left-center in the ninth. It was Volpe’s ninth homer, which is second among AL rookies.

“We’ve got a lot of confidence,” said Volpe after the Yankees took four of six on the road trip.

BOMBS AWAY

Martinez evened it in the bottom of the inning with a solo shot to left-center. It was his 10th homer in the last 21 games.

Martinez has 20 homers against the Yankees, his third-most against any club. He has 35 against Baltimore and 23 vs. Cleveland. He is four homers away from 300 for his career.

MILLER TIME

Miller – the 29th overall pick in the 2020 amateur draft – looked like he might have a short outing after throwing 27 pitches in the first inning. He struck out three but also walked two.

Miller retired seven straight between the third and fifth innings before Volpe lined a base hit to center field with two out in the fifth.

“It felt really good. Been working on my slider a lot lately.,” said Miller, who threw 86 pitches, including 39 sliders. “They know I have a good fastball so I have to have my other pitches working as well.”

TRAINER’S ROOM

Yankees: LHP Nestor Cortes is expected to be placed on the injured list Monday or Tuesday due to a shoulder issue. Manager Aaron Boone said Cortes has been slower to recover between starts and is likely to miss one or two starts. … LHP Carlos Rendon (left forearm strain) will face hitters on Wednesday.

Dodgers: OF Trayce Thompson was placed on the injured list with a left oblique strain. OF Johnny Deluca was recalled from Triple-A Oklahoma City.

UP NEXT

Yankees: Return home for six games starting Tuesday against the Chicago White Sox. RHP Clarke Schmidt (2-5, 5.01 ERA) has gone at least five innings in six of his last eight starts.

Dodgers: Hit the road starting Tuesday against Cincinnati. RHP Tony Gonsolin (3-1, 1.77 ERA) has gone 3-0 in his last four starts.