Injuries have been extremely prevalent in the first two months of the 2021 MLB season. The Houston Astros injury news was a mix of positive and negative on the pitching front. The bad news is that Astros ace Lance McCullers Jr. has been placed on the Injured List with a sore right shoulder. The good news is that Houston will be receiving reinforcements in the rotation as Framber Valdez and Jake Odorizzi will be activated for the weekend series against the San Diego Padres.
Astros manager Dusty Baker is optimistic that the injury is a short term issue, but there isn’t a clear timeline at the moment. “It’s just a minor thing, erring on the side of caution, ” Baker said. The Astros manager believes McCullers should be fine after some rest. The move is retroactive to Sunday, but he’ll still miss at least one start.
The injury is unfortunate for Houston as McCullers was showing some of his ace potential this year. The right-hander leads the team with a 2.96 ERA and 59 strikeouts in 51.2 innings.
Valdez And Odorizzi Set To Return
Fortunately for Houston, two pitchers will be returning at the same time McCullers is going down. Barring any last minute issues, Valdez will start Friday’s game against the Padres. Odorizzi will start the following day. Valdez will be making his season debut while Odorizzi will be making his first start since April 24.
Valdez fractured his ring finger on his throwing hand in Spring Training. The team initially feared the lefty would miss the rest of the season, but he healed much quicker than expected. Valdez had a breakout season in 2020, posting a 3.57 ERA and a 1.12 WHIP in 70.2 innings.
Odorizzi has been limited to three starts in 2021 due to a forearm injury. His starts before his injury left a lot to be desired, as he gave up nine runs in eight innings.
Houston is also hopeful Jose Urquidy is not far behind his rotation mates. Urquidy has been in the minors on a rehab assignment, so his return may be coming soon as well.
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