Venezuela’s Altuve exits after fastball hits hand

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 right hand before striking him near the left wrist. Altuve was holding the left wrist as he made his way back into the dugout.

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 Cub

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