Houston Astros second baseman Jose Altuve was forced to leave Thursday's game against the Washington Nationals in the bottom of the sixth inning with neck discomfort and is now day-to-day, according to Fox 26's Mark Berman.
"I'm not used to having this kind of stuff (with) my body and to come out of the game," Altuve said, per Berman. "So you have to be worried, but to be honest with you, I don't think it's something really, really bad."
Altuve has become one of the league's most valuable players over the past three seasons. The diminutive infielder developed an impressive power stroke to go with his ability to get on base at a high rate and his speed on the basepaths, making him a well-rounded, dynamic weapon.
The 27-year-old Venezuela native has remained mostly durable during that rise toward superstardom. He's played in at least 145 regular-season games in every year dating back to 2012. He did deal with an oblique injury late in the 2016 campaign, though.
If he's forced to miss further action, utility man Marwin Gonzalez figures to receive a lion's share of the playing time at second.
That said, the Astros offense would likely see a serious drop-off in production, regardless of how the team attempts to fill the void. Houston has done well to bolster its offensive depth in recent years, but Altuve is a critical piece of the puzzle as the Astros ramp up their pursuit of an American League pennant.