Houston star Jose Altuve fractured his right thumb in Team Venezuela's World Baseball Classic game Saturday and will need surgery, Astros general manager Dana Brown announced Sunday.
There is no timetable for his return, according to Brown. The Astros will announce a prognosis after the surgery, which will happen in the coming days.
Altuve exited the loss to Team USA in the fifth inning after being drilled by a 96 mph fastball by Colorado Rockies relief pitcher Daniel Bard.
"It appears it could be a while," Astros manager Dusty Baker told reporters Sunday at spring training in West Palm Beach, Florida, where Altuve returned for a medical examination.
It was the second significant injury suffered by an All-Star player in WBC pool play in Miami, after New York Mets closer Edwin Diaz suffered a torn patellar tendon while celebrating Puerto Rico's win over the Dominican Republic on Wednesday. He is expected to miss the entire 2023 season.
Altuve, 32, was coming off another stellar season for the reigning champion Astros, having hit .300 with a .921 OPS in 2022.
Utilityman Mauricio Dubon, who batted .208 games last season, is expected to move into the Astros' lineup to replace Altuve.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.