MIAMI (AP) — Jose Altuve left Venezuela’s 7-9 quarterfinal loss to the United States Saturday night with a possible fractured right thumb after being hit by a pitch in another injury setback at the World Baseball Classic.
The Houston Astros second baseman, an eight-time All-Star and 2017 American League MVP, fell down the field after being hit by the 95.9-mile sinker by Colorado replacement Daniel Bard in the fifth inning . He grimaced as he walked away with a sports coach and Altuve was replaced by Luis Rengifo.
“The Astros will provide an update tomorrow after further assessment,” the club said in a statement.
A Houston athletic trainer was concerned Altuve’s thumb was broken but hadn’t received a scan to confirm a fracture, a person familiar with the situation told The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the team hadn’t announced a diagnosis.
Altuve’s injury occurred three days later New York Mets All-Star seamer Edwin Díaz sustained a knee injury during celebrations following Puerto Rico’s 5-2 season-ending win over the Dominican Republic.
Altuve did not answer any questions from the media after the game, only saying in Spanish: “Everything is fine.”
“It wasn’t looking good,” said Venezuela coach Omar López, the Astros first base coach. “Tomas Vera, my coach, took 10 seconds to get him out of the game. I said, ‘Oh my God.’ Lets see what happens. I immediately started praying for Jose, for the whole team. That was our momentum right here when we took the lead. And eventually the whole dugout died, like calm, and we kind of pushed everyone to get up and move on.”
Astros closer Ryan Pressly pitched the ninth inning for the U.S., who advanced to the semifinals against Cuba on Sunday night.
“I’m pretty worried about Jose,” Pressly said. “He’s a big part of our lineup in Houston. He’s also an incredible teammate.”
Bard replaced Lance Lynn to start the inning and was wild the entire time, walking two batters and throwing two wild pitches. The 37-year-old Colorado allowed all four batters facing him to reach base as Venezuela overcame a three-run deficit to take a 6-5 lead.
“We know he has command issues and the first thing we said was just be patient at the plate. But I never thought that in this situation he would think up a pitch inwards, upwards and inwards to Jose,” said López. “Unfortunately, Jose couldn’t see the right path.”
Díaz tore the patellar tendon in his right knee and will have surgery on Thursday.
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