Jose Altuve (2B-HOU) underwent surgery on his fractured right thumb on Wednesday. He won't be able to resume baseball activities for two months, which means he probably won't return to the Astros' lineup until late May or early June at the earliest. Houston will have to make do without the former AL MVP in the meantime, who won't be their Opening Day second baseman for the first time in over a decade. Altuve will remain in Houston following the surgery and will not rejoin the team right away as he rests and begins his recovery. Fantasy managers who draft him should make sure they have a backup plan in place at the keystone while he's on the mend, especially if he isn't the same player when he returns.
The Padres got an encouraging injury update on Wednesday regarding Juan Soto (OF-SDP), who underwent an MRI on Tuesday for his mild oblique strain. Thankfully, the MRI confirmed that the strain is minimal and doesn't have significant inflammation, which means Soto should be able to resume swinging a bat within the next few days. San Diego is optimistic that Soto will still be ready for Opening Day on March 30 and could potentially get into a few more Spring Training games before then. The Padres seem to have avoided the worst with Soto, who is looking to bounce back from a disappointing 2022 campaign (career-worst .853 OPS).
Seiya Suzuki (OF-CHC), who was unable to participate in the World Baseball Classic due to a left oblique injury suffered in late February, continued his rehab work at the Cubs' complex on Wednesday morning. He threw long-toss and was scheduled to begin hitting against live pitching in the batting cage. He's also been cleared for light baserunning in addition to his regular running and agility work, according to MLB.com's Jordan Bastian. Suzuki is still not expected to be ready for Opening Day, however, and will likely open the season on the injured list. He did not give a timetable for when he expects to be back, but some time in April could be realistic based on players with similar injuries.
Jordan Hicks (RP-STL) told reporters on Wednesday that while he could see himself starting someday, he is focused on working out of the bullpen in 2023. Hicks pitched exclusively in relief during his first three seasons but made eight starts as an opener last year. He was still primarily a reliever with 27 appearances out of the bullpen, but perhaps manager Oliver Marmol will continue to use him in a hybrid role this season. The 26-year-old righty has struggled during the last two seasons, going 3-6 with a 4.92 ERA and a 1.35 WHIP, so perhaps a different role would help him get back on track. Still, it's hard to see how starting more often would be beneficial to him right now given his recent woes on the mound.
Michael Soroka (SP-ATL) finally made his Spring Training debut on Wednesday, throwing 36 pitches (20 strikes) against the Tigers. It was Soroka's first MLB appearance in over 2 1/2 years after having his career completely derailed by injuries. He's understandably a bit rusty and will not be in the starting rotation by Opening Day, although he could start the year in the bullpen and potentially rejoin the rotation later in the season. Soroka is still only 25 and was an All-Star during his last full season in 2019, so there's hope that he'll be able to bounce back eventually. It will take some time, though, and he'll need more outings to ramp up before he could be ready for a spot in Atlanta's rotation.
Jose Berrios (SP-TOR) was in top form during Wednesday's Spring Training outing against the Baltimore Orioles, spinning five-plus innings of one-run ball on 77 pitches (47 strikes) while whiffing five. It was a step in the right direction for the two-time All-Star, who's coming off a disastrous 2022 campaign in which he allowed the most hits (199) and earned runs (100) in the American League en route to a 5.32 ERA. The 28-year-old righty is hoping to get back on track in 2023, although that may prove difficult after the Blue Jays moved in their outfield fences during the offseason. That could cause Berrios' 1.5 HR/9 rate from last year to spike even more.
Hunter Brown (SP-HOU) was scratched from his scheduled start against the Mets on Wednesday due to lower back tightness. He apparently suffered the injury while working out on Tuesday and is listed as day-to-day for now. This doesn't appear overly serious, but the Astros would probably like to get him on the mound one more time before the season starts as a final tune-up. The 24-year-old righty is expected to be a key cog in their rotation this year as one of the primary replacements for Justin Verlander, so making sure he's healthy and starts the season off on the right foot is critical.
The Mets optioned top prospect Francisco Alvarez (C-NYM) to Triple-A on Wednesday, officially ending his bid to crack the Opening Day roster. The news is disappointing but not surprising for the 21-year-old prospect, who batted just .107 with no extra-base hits and 10 strikeouts in 31 plate appearances this spring. After getting a brief five-game cup of coffee with New York last season, it's clear Alvarez needs a little more seasoning before he's ready for the big leagues. That said, he's clearly knocking on the door and will likely be back in the majors at some point this season. Time will tell if he can make the necessary adjustments to hit MLB pitching and contribute the next time he gets an opportunity.
Brandon Crawford (SS-SFG) returned to the Giants' lineup on Wednesday for the first time since March 10 after being shut down with left knee discomfort. The layoff didn't appear to affect him too much, as he went 1-for-1 with a walk while playing four innings at shortstop. The 36-year-old veteran expects that he'll be ready in time to make his 12th straight Opening Day start for San Francisco, which is good news for those who end up with him on their fantasy rosters. Crawford was pretty durable during his prime but has dealt with injuries more often in recent years, missing 24 games in 2021 and 44 games in 2022. Hopefully that trend does not continue in 2023.
Eloy Jimenez (OF-CHW) returned to the lineup on Wednesday, going 0-for-2 against the Royals with a strikeout and a groundout. While he didn't have much success at the plate, the important part was that Jimenez looked healthy after exiting Monday's game with right calf cramps. He told reporters that the move was precautionary and that he felt fine during his return to action on Wednesday. Jimenez is doing everything he can to stay healthy this year after appearing in just 84 games last year. Staying on the field has been difficult for the 26-year-old, who missed over 100 games in 2021 as well. The White Sox will need him to be healthy and in their lineup this year if they want to bounce back from last season's disappointing 81-81 finish.
Joey Meneses (1B-WSH) was back in the Nationals' lineup on Wednesday after returning from the World Baseball Classic. While he went 0-for-4 in their 5-2 win over the Yankees, he confirmed that he'll be ready for Opening Day on March 30. Meneses is coming off an outstanding WBC where he went 10-for-27 with two home runs and six RBIs, shining as one of Mexico's best players. His stellar play in the tournament comes on the heels of an impressive rookie season where he batted .324/.367/.563 with 13 homers and 34 RBIs in 56 games during his first taste of the big leagues last year. The 30-year-old seems poised for a big follow-up campaign and appears ready to anchor fantasy lineups in 2023.
Mike Clevinger (SP-CHW) didn't let a sinus infection stop him from getting in his scheduled work on Wednesday. The 32-year-old right-hander threw five innings during an intrasquad game on Wednesday, allowing one run on three hits and one walk. Clevinger is looking to make a good impression on his new team after signing with Chicago in the offseason, especially coming off a mediocre 2022 campaign with the San Diego Padres. It's been several years since Clevinger was a healthy, reliable, and effective pitcher for the Cleveland Guardians, but if he can return to form that will go a long way toward helping the White Sox contend in the AL Central this year.
Michael King (RP-NYY) turned in another brilliant outing against the Nationals on Wednesday, dominating Washington's lineup and needing just 17 pitches to get through 2 1/3 scoreless frames in his longest outing of the spring so far. He looks fully recovered from last year's elbow injury and has yet to give up a run in 8 1/3 spring innings so far. He's only given up five baserunners through five appearances with nine strikeouts as well. All signs point to King picking up where he left off before the injury and being a dominant reliever out of the Yankees' bullpen again in 2023, assuming he stays healthy.
Davis Martin (SP-CHW) struggled against the Royals on Wednesday, surrendering four runs on five hits and one walk over 4 1/3 innings. Martin is expected to open the season as Chicago's sixth starter, so it's unclear whether he'll begin the year at Triple-A or in the majors. A little more seasoning probably wouldn't hurt the 26-year-old righty, who went 3-6 with a 4.83 ERA and a 4.28 FIP in 63 1/3 frames as a rookie last year. The main issue for him is that he doesn't miss a lot of bats (6.8 K/9), so he'll need to make sure his command is polished if he wants to succeed in the big leagues.
Jace Peterson (2B-OAK) kept up his torrid Spring Training for the A's on Wednesday, reaching base twice against the Cubs. That bumps his OBP up to .450 through 15 spring games so far, which has been fueled by his keen batting eye at the plate (10 walks). While it's unreasonable to expect the 32-year-old veteran to maintain this pace once the regular season starts, it's encouraging that he already feels comfortable with his new team and could be ready to improve on last year's .316 OBP, which could help him notch double-digit steals for the fifth time in his career as well.
This is just a small sample of our daily analysis, join our member area for tools that will help you win your fantasy championship. Click here for details: http://www.insiderbaseball.com/baseballsample.htm Click here to register: http://www.fantistics.com/salesbaseball.php3