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Altuve has broken thumb

Astros second baseman Jose Altuve will undergo surgery for a broken thumb

World Baseball Classic Quarterfinals: United States v Venezuela Photo by Eric Espada/Getty Images

Houston Astros second baseman Jose Altuve has a broken thumb and will undergo surgery, it was announced today. No timetable for his return has been indicated.

This is a not insignificant blow for the defending World Champs, who will be without Altuve for the start of the season. The Astros are still the clear favorites in the American League West, but this reduces somewhat the margin of error they have in staying ahead of the rest of the division.

Altuve was injured while playing for Venezuela in last night’s quarterfinals game against the United States. Daniel Bard, who has dealt with the yips in the past, completely lost his ability to throw strikes last night, and hit Altuve with a pitch before he was pulled.

Altuve is the second All Star to suffer a significant injury during WBC play this year, though Edwin Diaz’s knee injury was suffered while celebrating his team’s win, not during play. Players get hit by pitches and injured in spring training games, as well — Willie Calhoun being a memorable recent example.