The Astros suffered their first blip of the new season (assuming you aren't counting the Forrest Whitley suspension) when it was announced that first baseman Yuli Gurriel would miss six weeks after hand surgery. The injury, which the Astros believe was preexisting and made worse by swinging a bat, is common in baseball, the most notable example of which is Giancarlo Stanton. Now with the Yankees, in 2015, Stanton missed the second half of the season with a similar injury.
Long recovery periods are unusual, however, and the Astros said in a release that the surgery was a success and they expected him to be back in six weeks. Gurriel posted a photo to his Instagram account at the Texas Orthopedic Hospital on Wednesday morning.
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The Astros went through the 2017 title season with no major injuries though they did lose several players for stretches including Lance McCullers and Carlos Correa. Health is always one of the great equalizers in sport and can ruin seasons for not just injured players but entire teams.
The good news is the team has a handful of prospects and younger veterans who can fill in while Gurriel recovers including Tyler White, A.J. Reid and even J.D. Davis, who mostly plays third but has played first base and has shown some power this spring.
For now, Marwin Gonzales should ably fill the role until Gurriel returns. Gurriel will start the season on the DL, but could conceivably return by the middle of April. No doubt the Astros will opt to go slow with the 33-year-old's recovery.