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MLB News And Notes

As we have passed the quarter part of the season, divisional standings are starting to take shape, and teams are trying to evaluate their ability to contend this season. The play on the field has been spectacular, as most teams have adapted to the new rule changes this year.

With so much excitement off the field, let’s take a look at some of the biggest stories from around Major League Baseball this week.

Altuve Returns To Astros

The defending World Series champion Houston Astros got a big piece of their lineup back this week as the team activated second baseman Jose Altuve prior to Friday’s opener against the Oakland Athletics.

Altuve has been out all season thus far due to a broken thumb he suffered after being hit by a pitch during the World Baseball Classic. While Mauricio Dubon has been outstanding in his absence, the team is surely excited to have their catalyst back in the lineup.

Last season, Altuve hit .300/.387/.533 with 28 home runs, 57 runs batted in, 103 runs, and 18 stolen bases during their championship season. Without him, the Astros rank just 15th in scoring, averaging 4.45 runs per game.

Even with Altuve’s absence, as well as other notable injuries to Lance McCullers Jr, Michael Brantley, Jose Urquidy, and Luis Garcia, the Astros still sit at 26-19 on the year. That is good enough currently for second in the AL West, two games behind the Texas Rangers.

Houston is still the favorite to win the division at -140, and they have the fourth-best odds of winning the World Series at +750.

Urias Hits IL

Heading into play Sunday, the Los Angeles Dodgers have the best odds of winning the World Series at +450, but they took a big hit to their rotation this week. On Saturday, it was announced that lefty starter Julio Urias was hitting the 15-day injured list with an injured left hamstring.

In 10 starts, the 26-year-old is 5-4 with a 4.39 ERA, 1.157 WHIP, and he has 53 strikeouts in 55.1 innings of work.

With both Urias and Dustin May out, as well as Walker Buehler, who is still recovering from Tommy John surgery, the Dodgers’ depth is certainly being tested. With all of the injuries, the team is currently 15th in team earned run average at 4.10.

Veterans Designated For Assignment

A couple of prominent veterans were designated for assignment this week as both outfielder Aaron Hicks (Yankees) and Eric Hosmer (Cubs) were removed from their active rosters.

For Hicks, he has hit just .188/.263/.261 with one home run over 69 at bats this season. In 94 at bats, Hosmer was just marginally better hitting .234/.280/.330 with two home runs.

Both teams have opted to go for alternative options, with the Cubs turning to youngster Matt Mervis, while the Yankees activated Greg Allen.

Both teams are hoping to compete for a playoff spot this season, but both find themselves in third place in their respective divisions to this point.

The Yankees are +1500 to win the World Series this season, while the Cubs are +8000 to win it all.

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