Astros lefty Dallas Keuchel is shut down at the moment with shoulder issues, but he said today that he has been cleared of structural concerns, as Mark Berman of FOX 26 reports (Twitter links). Tests showed inflammation, but he says the club’s training staff is confident that “a little bit of time” is all that’s needed to heal the joint.
If the issued had arisen earlier in the season, the ’Stros would surely have less immediate concern, as Keuchel could take his time getting back to full strength and embark upon a rehab stint. Plus, it would be easier to fill innings with an outside addition.
As it stands, though, there’s less than a month to go in the regular season and Keuchel’s absence will tell for a club that’s fighting to stay in the Wild Card hunt. Whether he can make it back by season’s end, or for a hopeful postseason run, is “hard to say at this point,” GM Jeff Luhnow tells MLB.com’s Alyson Footer (via Twitter). It doesn’t help that the southpaw won’t have an opportunity to pitch in the minor league system on a rehab assignment.
At this stage of the season, the organization is likely limited to the arms it already has on hand (see the Houston depth chart here) to fill the void in the rotation. Youngster David Paulino received his first major league start recently, but lasted only three innings and coughed up four earned runs with two walks, two wild pitches, and no strikeouts. The Astros received somewhat more promising results from just-activated righty Brad Peacock in his outing, as he allowed one earned in 3 2/3 frames, but he did permit five base knocks and managed only a pair of Ks.