Amidst Monday night's exciting come-from-behind win over the Padres, which extended the team's winning streak to four games and helped solidify their early-season lead in the AL West, Jed Lowrie injured (or perhaps aggravated a previous injury to) his right thumb.
Lowrie suffered the damage during the eighth inning as he slid in safely at home during the Astros' big rally. His slide was far from textbook, and he appeared to jam hand as he rolled over after his knee stuck into the ground. He walked back to the dugout, grimacing and in obvious discomfort. He was replaced at shortstop by Marwin Gonzalez for the remaining inning and a half of play.
News broke early this morning that Lowrie will spend the day traveling back to Houston, where he will undergo an MRI examination to determine the nature and severity of the injury. It can be assumed that he will miss a minimum of two games (the remaining games of the road trip), and beyond that is up in the air at this point; several months on the disabled list would not be surprising if a major tear or break of some kind required surgery.
The setback could prove a very significant one. On a team that struggled to score runs for the first two weeks or so of the season, Lowrie has been arguably the team's biggest offensive presence so far. After Monday night's game, Lowrie sits with a stunning .300/.432/.567 batting line, good for a 171 wRC+. Only the Tigers' Jose Iglesias, thanks to a .436 BAbip, has been better offensively among all shortstops in the Majors.
Marwin Gonzalez (who, fortunately, himself owns a solid 117 wRC+ in a limited sample this year) will likely fill in for the next two games against San Diego. If Lowrie will only need to miss a few more games with it, Gonzalez will likely pick up the slack and then normalcy will be restored.
But if Lowrie is to be out for a significant time, we could well see a promotion from the minor leagues. Nolan Fontana currently owns a .410 OBP with the AAA Fresno Grizzlies, and of course The Chosen One, Carlos Correa, is currently making AA pitchers look like little leaguers (to the tune of a .382/.440/.735 slash line). I believe this tweet from a few weeks ago would be the appropriate place to leave off on.
Luhnow on Carlos Correa and Mark Appel "we're not gonna hesitate to bring them straight up from double-A if the need arises"— MLB Network Radio (@MLBNetworkRadio) April 9, 2015