5 Astros land on injured list because of COVID-19 protocols

OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA - APRIL 02: Alex Bregman #2 of the Houston Astros trots around the bases after hitting a three-run home run against the Oakland Athletics in the third inning of a Major League Baseball game at RingCentral Coliseum on April 02, 2021 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA - APRIL 02: Alex Bregman #2 of the Houston Astros trots around the bases after hitting a three-run home run against the Oakland Athletics in the third inning of a Major League Baseball game at RingCentral Coliseum on April 02, 2021 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images) (2021 Getty Images)

HOUSTON – The Houston Astros have placed second baseman Jose Altuve, third baseman Alex Bregman, designated hitter Yordan Álvarez, catcher Martín Maldonado and infielder Robel Garcia on the injured list because of COVID-19 health and safety protocols.

General manager James Click made the announcement on Wednesday, hours before the Astros were to wrap up a three-game series with the Detroit Tigers.

Click said he couldn’t say if a player had tested positive for COVID-19 or been exposed to someone who had and that the length of each player's absence would be determined by contract testing that is being performed.

Click was asked if the situation could have caused the game to be postponed.

“We’ve been in close contact with Major League Baseball throughout the day about that possibility,” he said. “They don’t believe that there is a health safety reason not to play. So as of now, we are playing the game.”

To take their place, infielders Taylor Jones, Abraham Toro and Alex De Goti, outfielder Ronnie Dawson and catcher Garrett Stubbs have been recalled from the alternate training site.

The Astros have lost four games in a row after a 6-1 start and now must play without four members of their starting lineup.

“It’s just a challenge for the rest of our guys to pick us up and get us back on the right track,” Click said. “We’ve obviously (struggled) a little bit in the past four games. When it rains, it pours. It’s a difficult situation but we can’t let that take our focus away from winning this game.”