Little by little, the Houston Astros lineup is starting to take shape after injuries and World Baseball Classic-related absences.
A big bat is making his long-awaited return to the starting unit.
No, it’s not Jose Altuve: he still has a few weeks to go before his fractured thumb heals.
And no, it’s not Kyle Tucker, who just returned to the Astros after a successful and productive Classic performance.
It’s the great Yordan Alvarez.
The return of Yordan Alvarez pic.twitter.com/9Nk5jvKekT
— Brian McTaggart (@brianmctaggart) March 23, 2023
Alvarez, a perennial MVP candidate, had been out of action with hand soreness that actually started last season.
He had been having trouble picking up and swinging a bat.
He seems to be in a better place now, given the fact Dusty Baker wrote his name in the lineup on Thursday.
He is hitting leadoff, which is a strange lineup position for him, and playing left field.
Perhaps the Astros want him to get as many at-bats as possible as he plays catch-up from his left hand soreness.
After all, he missed most of the spring to this point with the ailment.
Alvarez is, without a question, the most important hitter in the Astros’ lineup.
He combines Altuve’s ability to hit for average and Tucker’s power, except he has more of the latter.
Last season, he hit .306 with 95 runs, 37 home runs, 97 RBI, and an incredible 1.019 OPS.
He did all this in just 135 games.
Had he been closer to 150 or 162, he probably would have surpassed 45 blasts.
Hopefully he can get up to speed as quickly as possible to keep showing the world why he is arguably the best lefty hitter in baseball at the moment.NEXT: Jose Urquidy Is Set For A Big WBC Start