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The Houston Astros will be without four starting players in the foreseeable future. The team placed Jose Altuve, Yordan Alvarez, Alex Bregman, Robel Garcia and Martin Maldonado on the Injured List on Wednesday.
All five players were placed on the IL "as a result of health and safety protocols," general manager James Click confirmed.
The Astros have called up five players to replace that group on the active roster.
The term "health and safety protocols" has previously been used around baseball to talk around a COVID-19 situation. That doesn't necessarily mean the players who were placed on the IL tested positive for the virus. It could mean they came into close contact with someone who has COVID-19.
It's unclear how long each player will have to stay on the IL. Individuals who test positive for COVID-19 need to spend at least 10 days on the IL. Players who are close contacts are required to isolate for seven days. If it's determined these IL visits are due to COVID-19 vaccine side effects, or if any of the players placed on the IL are proven to not be a close contact, their time on the IL could be shorter.
Click told reporters the team didn't find out about the situation until after Tuesday's game. Altuve was curiously removed from Tuesday's game in the ninth inning, but his removal had nothing to do with Wednesday's news, according to Click.
Astros players received one dose of COVID-19 vaccine
Astros manager Dusty Baker spoke to reporters Wednesday, and revealed all five players put on the IL have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.
Despite those moves, the Astros will still take on the Detroit Tigers on Wednesday. Tigers manager A.J. Hinch, who previously managed the Astros, said there was no discussion over postponing the contest.
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