WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — Houston first baseman Yuli Gurriel had surgery on his left hand Wednesday and is expected to miss the start of the season.
Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow says doctors removed the hook of the hamate bone, which was broken before Gurriel arrived at camp.
Luhnow said he did not know the original cause of the fracture.
“It was non-symptomatic until recently and he started to feel something,” Luhnow said. “Once you start feeling something, the right course of action is to just remove it because it’s a pretty reliable surgery, and we know what the outcome is going to be.”
The 33-year-old Gurriel hit .299 with 18 homers and 75 RBIs last year in his first full season in the majors. He signed with Houston following a stellar career in Cuba and a brief stint in Japan.
Gurriel appeared in one exhibition game this spring training, homering in the second of his two at-bats. The Astros scratched Gurriel from Monday’s lineup and he returned to Houston on Tuesday.
Manager A.J. Hinch expects Gurriel to return to Astros camp as early as this weekend.
Normal recovery time is six weeks, which means Gurriel will miss the first two weeks of the season. When he returns he will serve a five-game suspension for an inappropriate gesture made toward Los Angeles pitcher Yu Darvish during the World Series.
A.J. Reed, J.D. Davis and Tyler White will get time to audition as a replacement.
Reed is left-handed batter who hit 34 homers last season at Triple-A Fresno of the Pacific Coast League. He hit .156 with three homers in 128 major league at-bats over the past two seasons..
Davis, who also can play third, hit .226 in a 24-game call-up last year for the Astros. He is a .229 hitter in 310 at-bats over two seasons.
“Our depth of prospects has performed so far this spring,” Luhnow said. “They look good and they’ve got great attitudes.”
Houston also can turn to Marwin Gonzalez, who can play any position other than catcher. Gonzalez, who played 31 games at first last season, led the Astros with 90 RBIs.
“Marwin will get a few more reps at first, although he doesn’t need as many reps at first given that we still want to move him around quite a bit,” Hinch said.
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