In the Astros’ big match-up with the Orioles on Sunday, Yulieski Gurriel stepped up to the plate for the first time. At 32 years old, the Cuban ball player defected this past February after the Caribbean Series to get a chance exactly like this one. Signing with Houston in July for $47.5 million after a decade and a half-long baseball career outside of MLB, logging that first hit was a milestone that for too long probably seemed out of reach.
Fortunately, Gurriel wasted exactly no time getting it, lining the first Yovani Gallardo offering into center field. He would finish with a hit and a walk on the day.
But his day would also end early, due to another common baseball occurrence.
Hinch said Gurriel left with right hamstring tightness— Brian McTaggart (@brianmctaggart) August 22, 2016
Well, isn’t that just the narrative-shredding cruelty for which this nasty sport is so widely known. Baseball gives us a great story like Gurriel overcoming worlds of diversity—and a pair of rain delays—to get to this point, only to snatch him away by his tendon. Fortunately, the injury does not appear to be overly debilitating as Gurriel is listed merely as "day to day."
Fifteen years of playing in the Cuban National Series and in Japan got him a slash line of .335/.417/.580 with 250 HR. The Astros are hoping for him to add some pop to their lineup after Gurriel hit .250 with a .691 OPS over a two-week period up and down their farm system.