The Houston Astros placed designated hitter and outfielder Yordan Alvarez on the 10-day injured list with a hand injury Sunday.
According to Astros field reporter Julia Morales, Astros manager Dusty Baker said Alvarez's hand has been getting "progressively worse."
The 25-year-old Alvarez is among the leading MVP candidates in the American League this season, as he is slashing .306/.405/.653 with 26 home runs, 60 RBI and 57 runs, plus an MLB-leading 1.058 OPS.
Alvarez is likely lagging behind New York Yankees slugger Aaron Judge, since Judge leads the majors with 30 homers, plays plus defense and has 66 runs and seven stolen bases for the best team in baseball, but Alvarez isn't far behind.
The Cuban masher has been the Astros' best hitter this season, and Houston has been near the top of the league as usual, posting a 55-29 record entering play Sunday, which is good for a 12-game lead in the AL West.
Alvarez was named the AL Rookie of the Year in 2019 when he hit .313 with 27 home runs and 78 RBI, and while injuries limited him to just two games the following season, he bounced back in 2021 with a .277 average and a career-high 33 homers, 104 RBI and 92 runs.
He is on pace to shatter those career highs this season. Plus, he has seen far more action in the outfield than in years past, adding even more value to his game.
Lerner reported that while Alvarez is not expected to compete in the Home Run Derby or All-Star Game on July 18 and 19, the team is hopeful he will be back for the first series after the All-Star break, which is a doubleheader against the rival Yankees on July 21.
Losing a player of Alvarez's ilk for any period of time is less than ideal, but the Astros can afford to take a cautious approach thanks to their huge division lead.
While Alvarez is on the shelf, the Astros will need Kyle Tucker, Alex Bregman, Jose Altuve and Co. to carry the lineup.