Another day, another marquee player exiting early due to injury. This time it was Houston Astros star Yordan Alvarez, who left Thursday’s loss to the Toronto Blue Jays after his first at-bat with an oblique strain. Our daily injury report has got all the latest on the MVP candidate’s status, as well as updates on Pete Alonso, Nestor Cortes and more of the biggest names in baseball.
MLB injury report: Friday, June 9
Yordan Alvarez (oblique), Houston Astros — Uh oh. Alvarez, who entered play Thursday leading the Majors in RBI and slashing a typically preposterous .274/.386/.582, was lifted after grounding out in his first at-bat against the Toronto Blue Jays. He was diagnosed with oblique discomfort, and while the team has yet to issue any sort of prognosis, the initial reaction isn’t great:
Yordan Alvarez said he felt his oblique soreness on his final swing in the cage before the game and then aggravated it when he swung and missed twice in his first-inning at-bat. He appeared to be in some pain.— Brian McTaggart (@brianmctaggart) June 9, 2023
That sure seems like a strain, and given how finicky oblique pain can be, the Astros could be looking at several weeks without their MVP candidate. We’ll hopefully know more in the next day or two.
Michael Brantley (shoulder)/Lance McCullers Jr. (forearm), Houston Astros — That wasn’t the only bit of foreboding injury news for Houston. Days after being shut down due to renewed soreness in his throwing arm, McCullers has been sent for an MRI to determine whether there’s been any further structural damage. GM Dana Brown told reporters they’ll make a decision about the righty’s future at some point early next week, and right now it’s looking increasingly unlikely that he’ll be able to help the Astros at all this year.
The outlook is a bit brighter for Brantley, who was also shut down amid his rehab program but has recently resumed baseball activities. The veteran hit in a cage and ran the bases on Thursday, and while there’s still no timetable for his return, he seems to be ramping up fairly quickly and could start another Minor League stint at some point this month.
Jorge Polanco (hamstring), Minnesota Twins — Minnesota’s been dealing with injuries to various position players seemingly all year long, Polanco included, and the second baseman’s health is now in question again after he left Thursday’s loss to the Tampa Bay Rays in the first inning. Polanco pulled up lame while running to first on a wild play in which his line drive back up the middle struck the second-base umpire. He’s been diagnosed with hamstring tightness, and at least for now the team is holding out some hope of avoiding an IL stint.
Rocco's preliminary update on Jorge Polanco is that he'll initially remain day to day.— Do-Hyoung Park (@dohyoungpark) June 8, 2023
"He's still, I think, pretty strong in the muscle, but he definitely felt something. We're going to have to pay attention to it."
Pete Alonso (wrist), New York Mets — It seemed like Alonso had dodged a bullet when X-rays came back negative on his sore wrist, but the Mets want to be extra sure there’s nothing wrong.
Buck Showalter says Pete Alonso got his CT scan this morning but is headed back to New York for an MRI— SNY (@SNYtv) June 8, 2023
"I knew he wasn't going to be able to play today"
Showalter later added that Alonso was sent back to New York so that Mets doctors could examine the CT scan & MRI pic.twitter.com/d7pqiAPARv
Alonso was unsurprisingly out of the lineup for Thursday’s crushing loss to the Atlanta Braves, but the fact that the team wanted its All-Star first baseman to undergo further tests suggests he’s still in quite a bit of pain — so much so that something like a stress fracture couldn’t be ruled out. We should know more about Alonso’s status at some point Friday or Saturday.
Nestor Cortes (rotator cuff), New York Yankees — As expected, Cortes was placed on the injured list on Thursday, but what had yet to be determined was the extent of the lefty’s shoulder injury — and how long he might be out. After sending him for an MRI, the team has diagnosed Cortes with a strained left rotator cuff — certainly not the worst-case scenario, but still enough to shut him down from throwing for the next two weeks. The All-Star will be reevaluated later in the month, at which point things have hopefully healed enough for him to start a throwing program. At this point it seems unlikely for Cortes to return before the All-Star break, meaning rookie Randy Vasquez could get extended run in the rotation.
Eloy Jimenez (leg), Chicago White Sox — Given Jimenez’s long, long injury history, this is not what you want to see:
Eloy Jiménez appears to have injured himself running out of the batter's box pic.twitter.com/n1BOMVsxuo— Casey Drottar (@CDrottar19) June 9, 2023
The slugger was lifted for a pinch-runner after appearing to be in some pain while running to first in the ninth inning of Chicago’s loss to the Yankees on Thursday night. He’s officially day to day with a lower leg injury for now, but again, this is Jimenez we’re talking about — we need to put his soft tissue in bubble wrap just to be safe.
Alex Cobb (hip), San Francisco Giants — Cobb was lifted from his start on Thursday afternoon at Coors Field after appearing to be in some discomfort during the bottom of the fifth inning. The righty admitted to feeling a “sharp shooting pain” in his left side, but added that he had “zero concern” about missing his next turn in the rotation. Obviously we’ve heard misplaced confidence from players about their own injuries before, so this is a situation worth monitoring over the next few days. Cobb has been right there with Logan Webb as the Giants’ best pitcher this year, with a 2.71 ERA over his first 12 starts.
Alec Bohm (hamstring)/Jose Alvarado (elbow), Philadelphia Phillies — A Phillies team that’s been beset by injuries all year long will get at least a little bit healthier starting on Friday night.
Saturday is definitely in place for Alec Bohm’s return. He had a strenuous workout on the field this afternoon. José Alvarado will be active tomorrow.— Matt Gelb (@MattGelb) June 8, 2023
After making a second Minor League appearance on Tuesday, Alvarado is set to return from his stint on the IL for Friday’s game against the Los Angeles Dodgers. The lefty had been dealing with elbow inflammation that first flared up in mid-May — a worrying diagnosis, obviously, but he seems to be throwing without any complications for now. Alvarado was off to a dominant start to 2023, with a 0.63 ERA and 24 strikeouts over his first 14.1 innings, and given Craig Kimbrel’s shaky ninth inning on Thursday night, he’ll likely resume the closer’s role sooner rather than later.
Bohm, meanwhile, will return when first eligible after going on the injured list with hamstring tightness two weekends ago. The third baseman hasn’t taken the leap many hoped this year, but he’s been a perfectly solid bat, which is a marked improvement over Philly’s current corner infield situation without both Rhys Hoskins and Darick Hall.
Noah Syndergaard (blister), Los Angeles Dodgers — Syndergaard’s nightmare season went from bad to worse on Thursday when the righty was put on the 10-day IL with a blister issue. It’s something Thor has been dealing with since last month, and it apparently reopened during Wednesday’s dreadful start against the Cincinnati Reds — along with a broken fingernail. Of course, this could all just be pretext for easing Syndergaard and his 7.16 ERA out of the rotation for a bit, although given all of the other health issues hitting L.A.’s pitching staff right now that seems unlikely. Luckily, Julio Urias should be back soon, while Syndergaard’s absence could open up a spot for Michael Grove and/or top prospect Gavin Stone.
Cody Bellinger (knee), Chicago Cubs — Good news for a Cubs lineup in desperate need of a jolt right now: Bellinger should be back very soon.
Cubs center fielder Cody Bellinger, who has been sidelined since May 15 with a left knee injury, will travel to the team’s Arizona complex to face live pitching before starting a rehab assignment at a minor-league affiliate.— Patrick Mooney (@PJ_Mooney) June 8, 2023
The center fielder has been out since mid-May after bruising his knee while making a wild catch at the wall in Houston. He’d been arguably Chicago’s best player up to that point, slashing .271/.337/.493 with seven homers and nine steals in a bounce-back campaign. His return could spell the end of Christopher Morel’s time with the team, as the utility man has gone ice cold since his torrid start.
Hunter Greene (hip)/TJ Friedl (hamstring), Cincinnati Reds — Cincy has a ton of mojo right now thanks to Elly De La Cruz’s sensational debut and a series win over the Dodgers, and the team is set to get two key contributors back this weekend. Manager David Bell said that center fielder TJ Friedl, out since late May with hamstring tightness, has cleared every hurdle thus far and will be back in the lineup on Saturday barring any last-minute setbacks.
Greene, meanwhile, is apparently feeling better after having his turn in the rotation pushed back a few days. He’s slated to take the mound on Saturday against the St. Louis Cardinals, where he’ll look to build on his sensational recent form (12 innings, two hits, one run, 19 Ks over his last two starts.
C.J. Cron (back), Colorado Rockies — On the shelf since mid-May due to back spasms, Cron is apparently still no closer to a return to the field. The 2022 All-Star has yet to resume any sort of baseball activities, and he told reporters on Thursday that he’s still experiencing pain in his lower back. At this rate, it’s likely going to be a matter of weeks before he even starts to work his way back, with a best-case scenario for his return coming some time after the All-Star break. The 33-year-old was hitting .228/.277/.426 with six homers and 20 RBI in 148 plate appearances before hitting the IL.