Astros starter Lance McCullers Jr. is making progress in his rehab, with the Houston Chronicle’s Chandler Rome noting the right-hander is currently ahead of schedule. McCullers, who is currently rehabbing from an elbow strain, is throwing from 90 feet off flat ground and is on the verge of starting to throw on back-to-back days. Rome notes that it’s possible McCullers begins throwing off the mound sometime this month, providing a bit of clarity to McCullers’s timetable, which to this point has involved few details.
McCullers, 29, is entering the second season of his five-year, $85MM extension with the Astros this year. The right-hander has struggled badly with injuries in recent years, having pitched just 265 innings since the end of the 2018 season, and having made more than 22 starts just once in his career to this point, in 2021. When he has managed to pitch, however, McCullers has been excellent. He sports a career 3.48 ERA that drops to 3.16 when looking at his work following his 2019 Tommy John surgery. For his career, he’s posted a fantastic 55.1% groundball rate in addition to a solid 25.6% strikeout rate, though he has walked 9.8% of batters faced in his career, a figure that’s jumped to 11.1% over the last two seasons. Still, McCullers stands clearly as among the best starters in the game when healthy. Houston is currently using a rotation of Framber Valdez, Cristian Javier, Luis Garcia, Jose Urquidy, and top prospect Hunter Brown while McCullers is on the shelf.
More from around the AL West…
- Athletics righty Paul Blackburn told reporters, including Matt Kawahara of The San Francisco Chronicle, that his torn fingernail is fully healed and he’s scheduled to pitch for Low-A Stockton in a rehab assignment on Friday. From there, he’ll head to Triple-A Las Vegas and begin to build up stamina toward his 2023 season debut with the A’s, with the current plan being for him to build up to five innings before joining the big league club. An All Star for Oakland last season, Blackburn posted a 4.28 ERA (87 ERA+) in 111 1/3 innings of work last season, though his season line is pulled down by his 9.25 ERA in his final five starts of the season before he headed to the injured list with right middle finger inflammation that would eventually end his 2022 season.
- Per Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News, Rangers outfielder Leody Taveras took batting practice from the right side today as he works his way back from a low-grade oblique strain he suffered during Spring Training. According to Grant, Taveras could be headed toward a rehab assignment this weekend with the potential for a return to the Rangers as soon as next week. Given Taveras’s plus glove in center field, a quick return would be a huge boon to the club’s defense, allowing Adolis Garcia to shift to right field and Robbie Grossman to slide over to his natural position in left.
I’ll bet the elbow strain is from all that throwing.
That last sentence about Blackburn has the word “season” in it five times. Makes me think of this:
Buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo.
That’s a legit sentence.
Five seasons is too much. I’ve removed all references to seasons so you may rest easier:
“From there, he’ll head to Triple-A Las Vegas and begin to build up stamina toward his 2023 debut with the A’s, with the current plan being for him to build up to five innings before joining the big league club. An All Star for Oakland last year, Blackburn posted a 4.28 ERA (87 ERA+) in 111 1/3 innings of work in 2022, though his line is pulled down by his 9.25 ERA in his final five starts of the year before he headed to the injured list with right middle finger inflammation that would eventually end his 2022 campaign.”
deGrom Texas Ranger
The obsession with that word is quite amusing.
deGrom Texas Ranger
Yep. It’s way overkill.
Hired Gun 23
I’m starting to think that every post on MLBTR has to meet a minimum word limit. That said, I like the raw writing…it’s sincere.
I love LMJ, but I also accept that he’s only going to give you 15-20 starts a year. If he gives the Astros 80 starts over the next four years, I’ll consider the contract a “big” success.
Yeah. I still wonder if he’d be more durable as a relief pitcher.
It’s been debated, but McCullers hates the idea. So, I don’t see it happening.
Blackburn’s fully healthy? Great news! Now Cashman can mortgage the farm for him at the deadline.
You really can’t tell how much progress a pitcher is making throwing off flat ground. When they begin throwing off the mound, that downhill angle requires the extension out front, and that will let the rehab staff know how the elbow is progressing.