Houston Astros outfielder Michael Brantley has been ruled out for the rest of the season after undergoing right shoulder surgery according to MLB.com’s Brian McTaggart. Brantley hasn’t played in a game since June 26. The 35-year old had been rehabbing his injured shoulder, but was never able to progress to swinging once again. After receiving a couple of opinions, Brantley decided to have an arthroscopic labral repair surgery that would end his season.
The Astros are losing one of the most consistent players in all of baseball. In four seasons with Houston, Brantley is a .306 hitter. In 54 career postseason games, he is a .296 hitter. Brantley was on his way to another stellar season before his season was cut short. In 64 games this season, he slashed .288/.370/.416 with 26 RBI, and more walks than strikeouts. Brantley is a free agent after the season.
In the midst of Brantley’s abscence, the Astros have used a combination of players in left field. Yordan Alvarez, Aledmys Diaz, and Chas McCormick have seen time in left this year. The newly-acquired Trey Mancini is primarily a first baseman, but he has played in both corner outfield spots in his career. Mancini may see in time in left as the season goes on as well.
McCullers Jr. Returns
While the season of one key Astro is officially ending, another’s is beginning. It has been a long, hard road to recovery for Lance McCullers Jr. who last pitched in the 2021 ALDS, but his return is finally here. McCullers Jr. will make his season debut on Saturday against the Oakland Athletics. The veteran suffered a forearm injury in the first round of the postseason last year. The rehab process took longer than everyone had hoped, but the wait is finally over. McCullers Jr. threw 86 pitches in his last start at Triple-A Sugar Land, so the team may keep him around that number in this start. Houston will likely return to a six-man rotation with the return of McCullers Jr.
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