Astros’ Kyle Tucker exits game after fouling ball off right shin

HOUSTON — Astros right fielder Kyle Tucker exited Monday’s game against the St. Louis Cardinals in the third inning after fouling a pitch off his right shin.

Tucker, who wears a shin guard on his right leg, crumpled to the ground after the baseball struck him higher than the protective covering reached. He remained hunched over in pain for several minutes before attempting to get up and finish his at-bat.

Tucker took a few steps around the batter’s box and bore very little weight on his right leg. After Tucker shook his head toward the first-base dugout, manager Joe Espada emerged to remove him for a pinch hitter.

Houston did not immediately provide an update on Tucker’s condition. After singling in his first at-bat against Cardinals starter Kyle Gibson, Tucker raised his slash line to .266/.395/.584. He leads the Astros in on-base percentage, slugging percentage, extra-base hits (30) and home runs (19).

Tucker awoke Monday as one of the American League MVP frontrunners. He boasted baseball’s fifth-highest OPS while trailing only Aaron Judge for the major-league lead in homers. Tucker stole his 10th base of the season Monday, too, continuing his pace for the 30/30 season that’s eluded him the past two years.

Tucker has been the best hitter in a top-heavy Houston lineup. Missing him for any amount of time would stagger a club searching for continuity amid a 26-34 start.

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(Photo: Logan Riely / Getty Images)

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