Astros place Jose Altuve, four others on COVID IL
Jose Altuve is among the players the Astros placed on the COVID injured list. Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Astros place Jose Altuve, four others on IL due to health and safety protocols

The Houston Astros began Wednesday losers of four straight games but may soon have a different and bigger problem on their hands. 

As Matt Young explained for the Houston Chronicle, the Astros placed second baseman Jose Altuve, third baseman Alex Bregman, designated hitter Yordan Alvarez, catcher Martin Maldonado and backup infielder Robel Garcia on the injured list ahead of Wednesday's matchup against the Detroit Tigers due to MLB's health and safety protocols.

It's unknown if any of the five tested positive for COVID-19. Per Young, general manager James Click said how much time the players miss "will depend on subsequent testing on them."

A player who tests positive for the coronavirus must isolate for a minimum of 10 days. 

Click added the club currently does not believe the absences are linked with violations of coronavirus-related guidelines. "Guys have been exceptionally vigilant — both at the ballpark and away from the ballpark — that they are following the rules," he said. 

In corresponding roster moves, Houston added first baseman Taylor Jones, catcher Garrett Stubbs, infielders Abraham Toro and Alex De Goti and outfielder Ronnie Dawson to the active roster. The Astros and Tigers remained cleared to play Wednesday as of the posting of this piece. 

"No one is happy about the situation, but at the same time, people understand health and safety is No. 1," Houston manager Dusty Baker said. "It’s better that this has happened now rather than later in the season or even come playoff time. We’re positive about our chances to win and going forward, hopefully, we get these guys back soon." 

COVID-19 vaccines have been available to Astros players since March 29. Baker said the five added to the IL have already "had their first shots."

Zac Wassink is a football and futbol aficionado who is a PFWA member and is probably yelling about Tottenham Hotspur at the moment. Erik Lamela and Eli Manning apologist. Chanted for Matt Harvey to start the ninth inning of Game 5 of the 2015 World Series at Citi Field. Whoops. You can find him on Twitter at @ZacWassink

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