On Monday night, Houston Astros All-Star shortstop Carlos Correa left the team’s game against the Seattle Mariners with a seemingly innocuous hand injury.
On Tueday, the Astros announced that Correa had suffered a torn UCL in his left thumb, the same injury that sidelined Mike Trout earlier this year. He’ll be out for six to eight weeks.
Astros have placed Carlos Correa on the 10-day disabled list with a torn ligament in his left thumb. He is expected to miss 6 to 8 weeks.
— Houston Astros (@astros) July 18, 2017
While this sucks for baseball fans and Astros fans, the Astros team will probably be fine while Correa is on the DL.
Heading into play on Tuesday, Houston had a 15.5 game lead on the Mariners in the AL West. If they even play .500 ball over the rest of the year, they’ll finish with 97 wins. If, somehow, the team is 20 games under .500 the rest of the way, they’ll still finish with 87 wins. The Mariners need to go 40-18 the rest of the way to reach 87 wins. Needless to say, each of those outcomes have very small chances of actually happening.
The positional versatility that the Astros possess this year also allows them to adapt with Correa out. Both Marwin Gonzalez and Alex Bregman have logged innings at short this season, and Correa’s injury will essentially mean they’re both in the lineup on an everyday basis, along with first/third baseman Yuli Gurriel (who has played first exclusively this year).
But that might not be what Houston is thinking, because to replace Correa on the active roster, they called third base prospect Colin Moran up from AAA. In 79 games in the hitter-friendly PCL this season, Moran has hit .308/.373/.543 with 18 homers. The former sixth overall pick has played just nine games in the majors, and won’t be in the lineup on Tuesday.
Given Gonzalez’s ability to play the outfield in addition to the infield, it wouldn’t shock me if AJ Hinch inserted Moran into the rotation and played him at third base on days that Gonzalez needed to play the outfield (or have off).
Losing a player hitting .320/.400/.566 with 20 homers sucks at any time of the year. But given Correa’s position and the team’s huge lead in the division, the Astros are one of a few teams that can handle the loss and likely not miss much of a beat.