The Astros announced today that right-hander Collin McHugh is headed to the 10-day injured list due to discomfort in his right elbow. It’s an ominous-sounding injury but the cause for concern doesn’t appear to be great; McHugh told reporters after the move that an MRI has already been performed and did not reveal any structural damage (link via the Houston Chronicle’s Chandler Rome). He’ll spend two or three days resting the arm before playing catch, and the 31-year-old (32 next month) believes he’s only in line for a brief stay on the IL. Any injury for a free-agent-to-be is at least somewhat notable, of course, and McHugh’s stock is particularly worth watching now that he’s been dropped from the rotation to the bullpen. Right-hander Brady Rodgers will return to the Majors for the first time since 2016 to replace McHugh in the bullpen. Rodgers, a third-rounder in 2012, has had a long road back from 2017 Tommy John surgery to post a solid 3.22 ERA in 44 2/3 innings in Triple-A so far.
More injury updates of note…
- Athletics slugger Khris Davis exited tonight’s game after one plate appearance due to what the team announced to be “lingering effects from a left hip contusion suffered earlier this season.” It’s not clear if this’ll be another day-to-day situation for Davis or whether he might finally require a trip to the injured list to allow what has been a long-nagging injury time to heal up. Davis, king of the .247 batting average, is remarkably just a hair off that number, hitting .248/.318/.497 with a dozen homers through 179 plate appearances after making an out in the one at-bat he did have Tuesday.
- A right elbow impingement has landed Blue Jays righty Ryan Tepera on the 10-day injured list, per an announcement from the team. Right-hander Jimmy Cordero is up from Triple-A Buffalo in his place. The outlook on Tepera is of at least some concern, as Sportsnet’s Shi Davidi tweets that Tepera says he’s been unable to get the proper level of extension on his release of his pitches. He’s headed to see a specialist for further evaluation. The 31-year-old Tepera had quietly emerged as a very solid setup piece for the Jays over the past few seasons but has been torched for a 6.55 ERA with nine strikeouts against six walks (two intentional) through 11 innings this season. His average fastball has dipped from 95 mph in 2017-18 to 93.7 mph this season. A healthy Tepera would make for a nice trade chip for the Jays this summer, given that he’s controlled through 2021, so his diagnosis and recovery timetable are well worth monitoring despite the fact that the Jays are on pace for nearly 100 losses.
- Rays catcher Mike Zunino feels he’s making good progress on his return from a quad strain, tweets Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times. Zunino, who was given a four- to six-week recovery timeline is optimistic that he can return toward the front end of that projection. That’s welcome news for a Rays organization that has cycled through various combinations of Nick Ciuffo, Anthony Bemboom, Travis d’Arnaud and Erik Kratz since seeing both Zunino and Michael Perez land on the injured list. Both d’Arnaud and Kratz were trade acquisitions prompted by the loss of the organization’s top two catchers. Once Zunino and/or Perez is ready to return, there’ll likely be further roster juggling.
- Lefty Zach Duke was placed on the injured list by the Reds due to a calf strain earlier today. Cincinnati will operate with a slightly shorter ’pen for at least a day or two, as they recalled infielder Josh VanMeter in his place. The Reds still have a pair of lefties in the bullpen in Amir Garrett and Wandy Peralta. For Duke, who inked a one-year deal worth $2MM this offseason, the trip to the IL could give him an opportunity for a mental breather on the heels of an ugly start to the year. Through 15 2/3 innings, the 36-year-old Duke has a 6.32 ERA with more walks (11) than strikeouts (9). Duke’s ground-ball rate, which sat at a hefty 59.4 percent in 2018, is down to 49 percent to begin the year.