Astros had during spring training game against the Rays
Mar 28, 2019; St. Petersburg, FL, USA; A detail view of a Houston Astros baseball hat and glove lay in the dugout at Tropicana Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

It was just last week that reigning American League Rookie of the Year Yordan Alvarez of the Houston Astros returned after missing the first three weeks of the season for unspecified reasons.

Unfortunately for the defending American League champs, Alvarez’s return was short-lived. The outfielder was placed on the injured list Monday after suffering a knee injury two games into his return. One day later, and Houston manager Dusty Baker has some bad news on this front.

Astros say Yordan Alvarez could be lost for the season

The 23-year-old slugger hit .313 with 27 homers, 78 RBI and a 1.067 OPS as a rookie last season. He’s seen as one of the best young hitters in baseball. His injury coincides with struggles from the likes of George Springer and Jose Altuve, who are hitting a combined .181 on the season.

It also comes with Houston in the midst of a six-game winning streak that has the team only 2.5 games behind the Oakland Athletics in the American League West. Although, it’s just a continuation of early-season injuries for the embattled baseball club.

Houston Astros injuries continue to pile up

Springer was removed from Tuesday’s win over the Colorado Rockies with a wrist injury. He’s considered day-to-day. Fellow outfielder Michael Brantley was placed on the injured list this past weekend with a quad issue. Infielder Aledmys Díaz remains on the shelf, too.

From a pitching perspective, it’s much more of an issue for the Astros. Reigning Cy Young winner Justin Verlander was placed on the injured list with a forearm issue after his first start of the season. While initial reports were that he’d be lost for the season, Verlander is attempting to work his way back. This all comes with All-Star closer Roberto Osuna likely out for the remainder of the season.

How Astros injures could impact American League West race

Despite some early-season struggles, Houston is in no way out of the American League West race. Its six-game winning streak coupled with the A’s having lost two consecutive heading into Thursday has made this a much closer divisional race.

With that said, Oakland had been playing the best ball in the American league prior to its recent two-game skid and remains at 16-8 on the season. With the truncated 2020 regular season nearing its quarter mark, injuries like this will continue to set the Astros back.

It’s not all doom and gloom. Even if Houston does not win the American League west, it’s more than likely to make the playoffs. But at this point, these injuries are simply piling up at an alarming clip.

Vincent Frank
Editor here at Sportsnaut. Contributor at Forbes. Previous bylines include Bleacher Report, Yahoo!, SB Nation. Heard on ESPN Radio and NBC Sports Radio. Northern California native living it up in Las Vegas. The Keto lifestyle. Traveler. Reader. TV watcher. Dog daddy. Sam Malone = greatest TV character ever. "Carpe diem. Seize the day, boys. Make your lives extraordinary," John Keating.