With All-Star second baseman Jose Altuve expected to miss eight to 10 weeks with a broken right thumb, who will the Houston Astros turn to as a replacement?
After being hit by a pitch in Saturday night’s United States vs. Venezuela game, the worst-case fears for the Houston Astros were realized on Sunday when Altuve was diagnosed with a broken right thumb and is now expected to miss at least the first two months of the 2023 season.
It’s a big blow for the defending World Champions, who saw Altuve slash .300/.387/.533 in 604 plate appearances over 141 games as he finished fifth in the voting for American League MVP.
So what are the Astros’ options to replace him while he’s out for at least two months?
Houston Astros could replace Jose Altuve by moving Mauricio Dubón over
First, the Astros could slide Mauricio Dubón into the role. Dubón played second base in 14 games last season for the Astros after being acquired in a trade with the San Francisco Giants. The 28-year-old Dubón didn’t provide much pop last season with Houston, however, slashing just .208/.254/.294 in 216 plate appearances, so there would definitely be a drop-off from what Altuve brought to the lineup.
It’s certainly an option for the Astros, but likely one that Dusty Baker will use from time to time rather than as a primary option. Dubón saw more time in the outfield than infield last season, but those numbers could be tweaked with Altuve out.
However, Dubón is still more of a utility player than first option to slide into the starting role on Opening Day.