MLB Rumors: Astros get troubling update on Lance McCullers Jr.
On the whole, things have been going well for the Houston Astros since an inauspicious start to the 2023 season. They still aren’t atop the AL West with the Rangers continuing to roll, but they are just two games back at 31-21, a record bested in MLB outside of the ridiculous AL East only by Texas, the Atlanta Braves and the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Unfortunately, though, their rotation got an unfortunate update regarding veteran starter Lance McCullers Jr. as he tries to make his way to the roster after being put on the IL to start the year after experiencing forearm tightness and discomfort in the spring.
Chandler Rome of The Athletic reported on Monday that Astros manager Dusty Baker said McCullers has suffered a setback and is no longer throwing off the mound after throwing bullpen sessions earlier this month.
There is something to be said for the Astros taking it slow with the 29-year-old who has a relatively tough injury history in his still-young career in hopes that McCullers can get right. However, that doesn’t make his potential return being delayed further now sting any less.
Despite the success the reigning World Series champs have enjoyed this season, their pitching depth is being tested with Luis Garcia out for the season after undergoing Tommy John surgery and Jose Urquidy still on the IL and just now beginning to throw off of flat ground.
If the Astros keep playing as they have, simply getting McCullers back later in the year to get into form and then help with a postseason run would be the most important part of the equation. Having said that, it’s a big ask of the pitching staff to continue playing at the level they have despite being down three regular starters. As such, the hope is that this setback is minor and that getting him to 100% happens sooner rather than later.