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Astros first baseman Yuli Gurriel to miss start of season following hand surgery

Yuli Gurriel will miss the start of the season after undergoing hand surgery. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

Houston Astros’ first baseman Yuli Gurriel will miss the start of the regular season after undergoing surgery on his left hand, general manager Jeff Luhnow said. Doctors removed Gurriel’s hamate bone, which was fractured before Gurriel arrived at camp, on Wednesday.

After a lengthy career in Cuba and a stint in Japan, Gurriel, 33, made his MLB debut in 2016. In 2017, his first full season in the majors, Gurriel slashed .299/.332/.486 as Houston’s primary first baseman. He hit 18 home runs and drove in 75. In the postseason, Gurriel hit .304, including two home runs in the World Series.

Gurriel’s surgery has a recovery timetable of roughly six weeks, which would put him on track to return a couple of weeks after Houston’s March 29 Opening Day game against the Texas Rangers. When he does return from injury, Gurriel will serve a five-game suspension resulting from a racist gesture he made toward Yu Darvish in the World Series.

In Gurriel’s stead, the Astros will turn to A.J. Reed, J.D. Davis and Tyler White as player who could see extra reps. Marwin Gonzalez, who started 31 games at first base last year and led the reigning World Series champions with 90 RBI in the regular season, could also be an option, according to manager A.J. Hinch.