After playing hurt for much of the second half and the entire postseason, Astros second baseman Jose Altuve underwent knee surgery three weeks ago to repair a patella avulsion fracture in his right knee. In English, that means the patella tendon ripped away a piece of bone in Altuve’s kneecap. Ouch.
On Sunday, while at Minute Maid Park for a private event, Altuve told MLB.com’s Brian McTaggart he expects to be “120 percent” for the start of spring training in three months. From McTaggart:
“We have a lot of time before Spring Training,” said Altuve. “We’re not doing a lot. The only thing they told me is we’re going to be 120 percent for the first day of Spring Training, and that’s what really matters.”
Altuve originally suffered the injury sliding into second base in July. It sent him to the disabled list for the first time in his MLB career. The 28-year-old Altuve is currently in the very early stages of his rehab work, but he is able to walk under his own power while using a knee brace.
Marwin Gonzalez, who played second base in the ALCS while Altuve was limited to DH duty, is currently a free agent and could very well sign with another team. Tony Kemp has some second base experience and could be Plan B next year should Altuve’s start to the season be slowed by the knee surgery. Most likely, Houston will acquire a new utility guy over the winter.
Overall, Altuve authored a .316/.386/.451 batting line with 29 doubles and 13 homers in 2018. That is obviously very good (it earned him another Silver Slugger honor), but it represents a noticeable step down from his MVP season in 2017. Altuve hit .329/.392/.464 before the knee injury and .279/.366/.409 after the knee injury this past season.
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