Miscellaneous, MLB

Houston hopes on the ropes with Carlos Correa out 4-6 weeks

Astros lose starting shortstop with a broken rib to go along with fellow all-stars in center and second base being out.

The Houston Astros lost the third leg of their up-the-middle defense when shortstop Carlos Correa was put on the injured list and is expected to be out for four to six weeks. Correa is out with a broken rib that was initially thought to be only a bruise.

It was reported Correa, who was removed from Houston’s game on Monday and sat out Tuesday, suffered the injury at home. The injury interrupts what had been a strong season so far for Correa with a .295 average, 11 home runs and 35 RBI. Correa was injured for much of the second half last season as Houston was unable to defend its World Series title from 2017.

Correa is only part of a bigger problem for the Astros, who have essentially lost their up-the-middle defense with second baseman Jose Altuve and center fielder George Springer also on the IL. Altuve has been out since May 11 because of a hamstring issue. He began a rehab assignment, but was shutdown on Sunday because of soreness.

Springer went on the IL on Tuesday, also interrupting a strong season,. Springer is hitting .308 with 17 homes runs and 43 RBI this season. The team also has backup infielder Aledmys Diaz on the IL. The team called up speedy backup Myles Straw for depth.

The question is whether the Astros, who have the second-best record in baseball at 37-19 will be able to withstand the losses. Houston has a seven-game lead in the American League West Division.

“With a fractured or cracked rib like that, it takes time for the bone to heal, and he’s got to strengthen the muscles around the bone and get back to playing shape,” Houston General Manager Jeff Luhnow told MLB.com. “We don’t really know if it’s going to be four or six [weeks], but somewhere in that range is the best guess right now.”

Straw is an interesting prospect. He is batting .301 with a .392 on-base percentage. He also has 167 stolen bases in his 449 career games in the minors.

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