Just past 9 p.m. Tuesday night, the first injury of 2016 for the Houston Astros struck. It was more like a scheduled strike as designated hitter Evan Gattis had surgery to repair a hernia, as reported by the Houston Chronicle's Evan Drellich:
Astros DH Evan Gattis had surgery to repair a hernia & is to miss most of spring, the Chronicle has learned. 4-6 wks https://t.co/SWEuGkeoFE— Evan Drellich (@EvanDrellich) February 10, 2016
Later we learned that the surgery was infact done on Tuesday from MLB.com's Brian McTaggart:
Gattis had surgery today.— Brian McTaggart (@brianmctaggart) February 10, 2016
Gattis surgery performed by Dr. William Meyers in Philadelphia. Recovery time 4-6 weeks.— Brian McTaggart (@brianmctaggart) February 10, 2016
This will be the year in a row that Gattis will be limited at Spring Training, he dealt with a wrist injury last spring that prevented him taking grounders at first base. Gattis as a first baseman was scrapped for 2015, he appeared mostly as the designated hitter and a few games in the outfield.
There was no word if the Astros once again planned to work Gattis out at first base this spring with everyday starters Chris Carter and Jed Lowrie gone.
The surgery comes at an ill time for Gattis as he has an salary arbitration hearing against the Astros scheduled for next Tuesday. Gattis is seeking $3.8 million and the Astros are offering $3 million. It is not clear if the surgery would affect the outcome or if the arbiters will only be looking at last year's performance.
In his first season with the Astros, Gattis batted .246 with 66 runs scored, 20 doubles, 11 triples, 27 home runs, 88 RBIs, 30 walks, 119 strikeouts, .285 on-base percentage, and .463 slugging.
The question then becomes how long did Gattis have the hernia and how did it affect his play at the plate? What can a healthy and healed Gattis do in 2016?