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Venezuela’s Jose Altuve is hit by a pitch during the fifth inning of a World Baseball Classic quarterfinal against the U.S. on Saturday in Miami. Altuve will need to be replaced in the Houston Astros’ lineup early in the season because of a broken right thumb. Wilfredo Lee/Associated Press

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — Houston Astros star Jose Altuve has a broken right thumb and needs surgery after getting hurt in Venezuela’s 9-7 quarterfinal loss to the United States at the World Baseball Classic.

The Astros said Sunday they will announce a prognosis for the second baseman after the operation.

The eight-time All-Star and 2017 American League MVP was struck by a 95.9 mph sinker from Colorado reliever Daniel Bard in the fifth inning Saturday night. Altuve grimaced as he walked off with an athletic trainer.

Altuve’s injury occurred three days after New York Mets All-Star closer Edwin Díaz sustained a season-ending knee injury during the postgame celebration of Puerto Rico’s 5-2 win over the Dominican Republic. Díaz tore the patellar tendon in his right knee and had surgery on Thursday.

“It appears it could be a while,” Astros Manager Dusty Baker told reporters Sunday at spring training in West Palm Beach, Florida, where Altuve returned for a medical examination.

Utilityman Mauricio Dubon, who batted .208 games last season, is expected to move into the Astros’ lineup to replace Altuve.


JAPAN: Masataka Yoshida’s performance while batting fourth for Japan may have earned him the cleanup spot in the Boston Red Sox lineup.

Red Sox Manager Alex Cora said before Sunday’s game against the Phillies in Clearwater, Florida, that he is zeroing in on plans for the heart of his lineup with Xander Bogaerts and J.D. Martinez gone.

Yoshida is batting .400 with one homer and 10 RBI for Japan, which will face Mexico in the WBC semifinals on Monday night. He only appeared in two games for Boston this spring before heading to the WBC.

Cora said he is planning to bat Rafael Devers second and Justin Turner third.

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