Yuli Gurriel replaced by Korey Lee on Astros’ World Series roster 

HOUSTON — Astros first baseman Yuli Gurriel, who left Game 5 of the World Series with a right knee injury due to a sprained right MCL, has been replaced by rookie catcher Corey Lee. Houston manager Dusty Baker said Gurriel ran on the field earlier Saturday to test his knee.

Dr. Gary Green, Major League Baseball’s medical director, confirmed the injury after speaking with an evaluating physician. MLB’s postseason rules state that a team may request permission from the commissioner’s office to replace a player who is unable to play due to injury.

With a third catcher on their roster, the Astros started Christian Vazquez in Game 6 as a designated hitter, with Martin Maldonado behind the plate. Lee, who hit .160 in 12 games for Houston this year, was on the club’s playoff team. Baker said he thought about hitting Vazquez at DH more often this year. He only did it once because he didn’t want to take the chance of injuring one of the two catchers.

“No. 1, he’s a contact guy,” Baker said of Vazquez. “I can do a lot with him. I did that as an experiment to see once. I wanted to do it twice, but I didn’t necessarily want to have it in case something happened to Maldi… I certainly didn’t want to put my team in a position to lose. [the] Throw in a DH and a pitcher and hit for the pitcher, back to my National League days with just a four-man bench.

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Gurriel injured his knee in the seventh inning of Game 5 when he was spectacularly tagged out by Phillies first baseman Rhys Hoskins. The injury ended Gurriel’s impressive streak of 48 hitless streaks this postseason when he struck out Connor Brogdon in the fourth inning.

Gurriel, who struck out the final batter in Game 7 to clinch the 2017 World Series victory at Dodger Stadium, hit .347 (17-for-49) with two homers and four RBI in the postseason, going 6-for-19 with one RBI in the World Series. Trey Mancini replaced him at first in Game 5 and made a stellar play to snag Kyle Schwarber’s line drive at first base.

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“Yuli was one of our best hitters in the postseason, so not having him stinks,” center fielder Chas McCormick said. But we have guys who know their roles and we’re confident in anybody that’s going to be in that lineup. We have a lot of good strikers in this team.

Astros Game 6 starter Framber Valdez has the highest ground ball rate in MLB, and Gurriel is a good defender, having won the Gold Glove Award last year. So it’s conceivable that there will be many opportunities for Mancini in the first place. Baker Mancini is starting because he has more experience at the position.

“It’s Mancini’s time to shine,” Baker said.


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