It seems rather unlikely that the Astros will receive further contributions in 2016 from lefty Dallas Keuchel or infielder Alex Bregman, according to updates from GM Jeff Luhnow, via MLB.com’s Brian McTaggart (Twitter links). There’s at least some positive momentum, though, for righty Lance McCullers Jr., who Luhnow says will throw off of a mound in the coming days, as Jake Kaplan of the Houston Chronicle tweets.
Keuchel, who is dealing with shoulder inflammation, wouldn’t be available unless the team is able to qualify for and “go pretty deep” in the postseason, per Luhnow. He has yet to begin throwing at this time, Kaplan tweets, so there’s obviously a long way to go. The 28-year-old last appeared on August 27th, so he’d certainly need to fully build back his arm strength even if the inflammation dies down.
The timeline isn’t much more optimistic for Bregman, whose hamstring injury is significant enough that it would typically require a four to six week layoff. While Luhnow suggests that it’s possible to push a recovery in this situation, even an aggressive timetable would seemingly leave the talented youngster unavailable until early October.
McCullers, meanwhile, has been out for much longer than the other two players with elbow issues. News on his progress has been limited since his last appearance on August 2nd. Presumably, the ’Stros will continue to exercise caution with the prized 22-year-old. But it’s at least promising to hear that he is now in a position to begin working back toward mound work.
What’s clear is that Houston won’t receive any contributions from this key trio of players down the stretch. With a three-game gap between the club and a Wild Card spot entering today’s action, it’ll take a huge showing over the next two weeks just to gain a chance at the playoffs. If the Astros can somehow sneak in — and escape the one-game Wild Card play-in game — it’ll be interesting to see if any of the three are ready for activation for a full postseason series.