Astros place Jeremy Pena on injured reserve

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The Astros have placed the shortstop Jeremy Pena on the 10-day disabled list due to left thumb discomfort. first baseman JJ Matijevic was recalled from Triple-A Sugar Land to take his place on the active roster.

Peña did not play in last night’s win over Rangers, and the club sent him from Arlington to Houston for further evaluation. The Astros haven’t released many details about the problem, but it’s apparently serious enough that he needs at least a week and a half out of play to recover. Aledmys Diaz started at shortstop last night, and will likely play there regularly for the duration of Peña’s absence.

A former recruit in the third round, Peña has increased his stock considerably since entering the professional ranks. He had been an excellent player on both sides of the ball throughout his minor league tenure, becoming one of the sport’s hottest prospects at the start of the 2021 campaign. Surgery on his left wrist limited him to just 30 Triple-A games last season, but Peña hit .287/.346/.598 in his first crack at the level. The Astros were confident enough in his ability to handle the MLB pitch, they listed him as an opening day shortstop after watching Carlos Correa go to free agency.

It was a bold call for general manager James Click and his team, as Houston remains one of the top World Series contenders in the league. Still, Peña excelled, more than rewarding the organization’s trust in his first two-plus months in the majors. He is hitting .277/.333/.471 with nine homers in 211 plate appearances. The result 133 wRC+ is tied for third among 28 rookies with at least 100 plate appearances, and he is considered a Gold Glove caliber defender. As a result, Peña appears to be the early favorite for the American League Rookie of the Year award, but his strong debut campaign will be put on hold while in rehab.

Díaz has a tough performance in 2022, hitting just .214/.261/.304 through 119 trips to home plate. He will be a marked downgrade from Peña with the gauntlet, but his flat career record is more respectable than this year’s performances suggest. Díaz has hit .254/.316/.414 since landing in Houston ahead of the 2019 season. Mauricio Dubon and Niko Goodrum are also on the 40-man roster as shortstop-capable depth options. Dubón, who is out of minor league option years, is on the active roster; Goodrum was chosen for Sugar Land after a rough start to the season and has been on the MiLB injured reserve since last week.

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