Houston first baseman Yuli Gurriel had surgery on his left hand Wednesday and is expected to miss the start of the season.
Houston general manager Jeff Luhnow says doctors removed part of the bone broken before Gurriel arrived at camp. The 33-year-old Gurriel hit .299 with 18 homers and 75 RBIs last year in his first full season in the majors.
Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow told reporters that Gurriel is expected to miss five to six weeks, meaning he will be sidelined for at least the first week of the season.
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Luhnow also noted Gurriel’s upcoming five-game suspension for his racially insensitive gesture during last year’s World Series and stressed that the Astros intend to look internally for a replacement at first base during Gurriel’s absence.
“This is a minor setback,” Luhnow said. “It will provide an opportunity for somebody on our roster to play in the big leagues while Yuli is recuperating. We knew that was going to be the case anyway for the suspension, but instead of five days, it might be 10 days or 15 days. Whoever it is who gets that spot is going to have more time to prove themselves.”
Luhnow added that the surgery was “successful.” He said the injury was preexisting and likely aggravated by swinging a bat.
Fractures to the hamate bone are common in baseball. Recoveries typically take six weeks, but there are notable exceptions. Giancarlo Stanton missed the rest of the 2015 season after getting the surgery in late June.
If he returns in six weeks, Gurriel could be activated on April 4, the finale of a home series against the Orioles. Once activated from the disabled list, Gurriel still will have to serve a five-game suspension for making a racially insensitive gesture during the World Series.