The Astros are off to a nice 3-1 start to the 2020 season, but the reigning American League champions are nonetheless facing plenty of injury-related issues at the moment. Ace and defending AL Cy Young winner Justin Verlander is on the shelf with a forearm strain, 2019 AL Rookie of the Year Yordan Alvarez has been out for weeks and it’s unclear when he’ll debut this season, and the club has a handful of notable relievers battling arm troubles.
The Astros’ best setup man, Ryan Pressly, is now among the team’s wounded, as Brian McTaggart of MLB.com was among those to report that he’s fighting elbow soreness. Chris Devenski is dealing with the same malady, while another of the Astros’ righties – Austin Pruitt – has been shut down on account of his own elbow woes.
The 31-year-old Pressly was largely lights-out with the Twins and Astros from 2018-19, but injuries have slowed him dating back to late last season. Pressly underwent knee surgery in August, and while he did return to throw four innings of scoreless, one-hit ball with seven strikeouts and one walk at the end of September, he experienced more discomfort during the playoffs and was shellacked for 12 hits and seven earned runs in 5 2/3 October frames. Pressly still hasn’t pitched this year, though the severity of his newest injury isn’t known right now.
Devenski, who was subpar from 2018-19 after back-to-back terrific campaigns, has already taken the mound twice this season. The first of those showings went well, but he was the losing pitcher Sunday after giving up three earned runs in an inning of work. Pruitt, meantime, continues to await his Astros and 2020 debuts. They acquired the swingman from the Rays over the winter, but arm injuries – first to his shoulder – have weighed him down.
If Pressly and Devenski join Pruitt and the also-injured Brad Peacock in missing time, it will leave Houston with no established relievers aside from closer Roberto Osuna and fellow veteran Joe Biagini. As McTaggart points out, the Astros have a whopping eight rookies in their bullpen.