Venezuela's Jose Altuve exits after 96 mph fastball hits hand

March 18, 2023, 9:39 PM

MIAMI --  Houston Astros second baseman Jose Altuve, starring for Team Venezuela in the World Baseball Classic, took an upper-90s fastball to his hands in the bottom of the fifth inning and immediately exited Saturday's quarterfinal game.

Team USA right-hander Daniel Bard plunked Altuve with a fastball that came in at 96 mph, causing Altuve to fall to the ground and immediately be removed while in noticeable pain.

The pitch appeared to glance off his left hand before striking him near the right wrist. Altuve was holding his right wrist as he made his way back into the dugout.

The Astros said Altuve is being evaluated for an injury to his right hand and won't have an update until Sunday.

Bard, a reliever for the Colorado Rockies, also issued two walks, uncorked two wild pitches and threw 10 of his 17 pitches for balls in the fifth. Venezuela ended up scoring four runs in the inning to take a 6-5 lead. 

The winner of Saturday's game plays again on Sunday, in a semifinal matchup against Cuba.