Astros hurler Charlie Morton departed from today’s contest against the Angels after pitching just one inning. As Brian McTaggart of MLB.com was among those to tweet, the cause for his exit was discomfort in his right shoulder. Shoulder inflammation was what sent Morton to the DL earlier this season, and the situation is particularly concerning considering Morton was already pitching on seven days’ rest. We’ll await further news from Houston’s camp on Morton’s situation, but needless to say, this is an unfortunate development for a team hoping to begin its title defense in under two weeks. Morton’s been a force for the Astros this season, posting a 3.15 ERA with 195 strikeouts in just 163 innings, and they can scarce stand to lose him for any stretch of the playoffs with Lance McCullers Jr.’s ability to pitch deep into games still an uncertainty. [UPDATE: A.J. Hinch told McTaggart and other reporters that Morton was only supposed to throw three or four innings, and was removed for precautionary reasons after Morton’s velocity dropped. The righty is still expected to make a start next weekend against the Orioles.]
A few more unfortunate injury developments from around baseball…
- Another AL playoff team will be white-knuckling it today, as Yankees manager Aaron Boone announced that Didi Gregorius tore cartilage in his wrist on a slide home yesterday and may not return this season (h/t Bryan Hoch of MLB.com). He’s since received a cortisone injection, and while there’s no definitive word on his status for October, the news is ominous and unwelcome to a Yankees ballclub that would definitely like to be at full strength as they attempt to secure home field advantage over the A’s in a return to the one-game Wild Card playoff.
- Add Orioles infielder Breyvic Valera to the list of players whose status for the season’s final weeks is in doubt. X-rays showed a fracture of the second metacarpal in his left index finger, per Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com. Valera was one of five players to join the Orioles as a component of the trade that sent Manny Machado to the Dodgers. He’s collected nine hits (all singles) in 38 plate appearances since coming to Baltimore, chipping in a stolen base along the way.
- Pirates outfielder Starling Marte departed today’s game with left calf tightness. The two-time Gold Glove award winner has hit .277/.322/.452 with 19 homers and 33 steals in 576 plate appearances in 2018, and while the Pirates were eliminated from playoff contention with a loss in that game, they’ll surely be hoping the injury to Marte isn’t serious. Needless to say, he’s a vital component in their contention plans for the 2019 season, and as we await further word on the details, the Pittsburgh fan base will surely be hoping that a late-season calf issue doesn’t disrupt that.