Astros starter Luis Garcia will undergo Tommy John surgery, the club informed reporters (including Chandler Rome of the Athletic). He’ll miss the rest of the season and quite likely a good chunk of the 2024 campaign as well.
It’s a brutal blow to the defending World Series champions. Garcia has been a pivotal member of the starting staff. After a brief debut during the abbreviated season, Garcia secured a rotation spot in 2021. The Venezuelan-born hurler started 28 games in each of the next couple years, tossing between 155 and 160 innings. He allowed fewer than four earned runs per nine with better than average strikeout and walk rates during each year.
The 26-year-old had been off to a similar start in 2023. Through six starts, he tallied 27 frames of 4.00 ERA ball. Garcia had punched out 27% of batters faced against a serviceable 8.7% walk rate. For his career, he’s now up to 352 innings with a 3.61 ERA while fanning a little more than a quarter of opponents.
Unfortunately, Garcia departed Monday’s start in the first inning with elbow discomfort. He’d thrown just eight pitches and was working with diminished velocity before his early exit. The Astros sent him for an MRI that apparently revealed damage to the UCL in his throwing elbow.
Houston is also without José Urquidy and Lance McCullers Jr. at the moment. Urquidy is dealing with shoulder inflammation and midway through a 10-day shutdown period. McCullers is building back from a muscle strain in his throwing arm. Garcia’s injury is even more serious and leaves the club with a top-heavy starting staff. Framber Valdez, Cristian Javier and rookie Hunter Brown make for an excellent top three. The final two spots have been thrown in flux. Brandon Bielak is moving into the starting staff, while 28-year-old J.P. France is coming up for his major league debut tomorrow.
Bolstering the rotation midseason could well be a priority for general manager Dana Brown and his front office. Houston has started the season with a pedestrian 16-15 record. They’re still within 2 1/2 games of the division-leading Rangers and it’d be a surprise if the Astros weren’t in position to add to the MLB roster midseason. Notable external solutions aren’t likely to be available for over a month, though, leaving Houston to rely upon a group of mostly inexperienced depth starters from the upper minors.
Garcia is already on the 15-day injured list. He’ll be transferred to the 60-day IL whenever the club needs to free a spot on the 40-man roster. He can remain on the IL for the rest of the season but will need to be reinstated onto the 40-man over the winter. Garcia will collect service time for his rehab time, pushing him past the three-year mark by the end of the season. He’ll be eligible for arbitration for the first time next offseason and isn’t ticketed for free agency until the 2026-27 offseason.
Wtf is going on?
I think we’ve had 20 TJS announcements today. Could be slightly off.
“Hello, astros. This is Ace security services. We don’t know how Tommy John snuck in your house because your window is closed. He didn’t take last year’s trophy, but he did steal your good-luck-auto-pooper so you’re probably not gonna get any new trophies. Sorry, for your loss. We’d be happy to connect you with our insurance agency, Early Admit Rebuild Inc.”
Such a beautiful sport , it’s a shame so many young talented men go under the knife.
Okay, hear me out…it’s the pitch timer.
It’s the WBC
I love the WBC,but just this week three of Venezuela’s pitchers have gone down and require Tommy John (Germán Márquez, José Quijada and know Luis Garcia)
Long Suffering Mets Fan
It is easy to blame the WBC but it is a false syllogism to say that the WBC is to blame. What if these three all went down but had not pitched in the WBC? Would you be blaming Spring Training? Throwing a baseball, especially pitching, is not a natural motion. Over time the muscles tendons and ligaments are going to give out to the stress of doing something that puts strain on the body in unnatural ways.
Sid Bream Speed Demon
Difference between pitching a little bit to ramp up and throwing max effort for the love of your country.
I think it would have been smarter to implement the pitch clock in a non-WBC year.
Correction: Márquez was not in Venezuela’s WBC team
WBC, “throwing as hard as you can vs. “pitching”, lack of conditioning.
Game lengths have been shortened by about 30 minutes. 1800 seconds. Both teams combine to throw about 300 pitches. Pitchers are delivering pitches about 6 seconds sooner than they did in the past. ……if you were around to see Greg Maddux pitch, it would be tough to say those six seconds are causing injury. Maddux was the fastest worker on the mound I’ve ever seen.
Did you see Doug Fister? That guy was a quick game slunger!
Mr big dig
Nicee. Go Dodgers.
As opposed to “Dog Fister”
@Wampum That is a good point, but Maddux wasn’t a max effort guy. It’s hard to compare any of todays pitchers with him
False. He threw max effort everytime. Just because he didn’t throw 98mph, doesn’t mean it wasn’t max effort
What does proper buildup before a pitch mean? Lol that isn’t a thing.
Dr. Van Nostrand
It’s Big Foot
Or Little Hand. That could do a pitcher in.
@Utah_ If you’ve noticed walks are up 1%. That’s also the result of the pitch clock.
DarkSide830, I do believe the pitch clock and the WBC are both having a bad effect on pitchers.
One guy here, WampumWalloper, mentions how Greg Maddux was such a fast worker and didn’t suffer injury, but I say we must not think that way.
Maddux was so unusual in many ways that he cannot be used as an example for everybody else.
Pitchers are the ones who suffer from the changes of the past decade or so, simply because they live or die solely on repetitions of an unnatural arm movement.
Well said. This sad astros fan pretty much agrees with all of this.
@fredpark, 32 players had TJS in 2021, 28 in 2022, can we at least get to a significantly higher number before we condemn the WBC and the pitch clock? Or do we not need factual data for the conclusion?
Your facts was one guy pitching fast so therefore everyone else is like Maddux and game speed has no effect.
That’s not facts….that’s called generalizing. Taking one extremely small sliver of a sample and applying it to everyone ever…..
Factual data? Like wins and losses and RBIs?
Based on MLBTR articles alone, I would bet the 32 mark in 2021 has already been surpassed.
WampumWalloper, I admire the way you have gotten these facts together, and I am pretty much persuaded that you are correct.
I still get an uneasy feeling when I think about the details of the Tommy John surgery, but I guess nobody said this game was going to be easy.
This game tonight is a heck of an exciting start to this important series. The Astros got to Castillo early and it’s already a whale of a game.
How does the WBC get the blame? If they weren’t pitching in the WBC they would pitching in SP games.
@utah, I like pitchers who are still on the game with their team leading after 5 innings (all SP’s should be trying to go nine), I like batters who have higher OPS’s with RISP’s. Wins and RBI’s are good. Yep, I’m pretty sure it’s a fact that there is a direct correlation between the amount of pitcher wins to total team wins and a direct correlation between runs batted in and runs scored. I have no proof of these being facts but I’m pretty sure no one can disprove them : )
Randy Jones was crazy fast!
Do you mean Randy Johnson?
Crazy fast is right.
Thing is, a lot of these players did not participate in the WBC. Only 2 of the 14 I was able to locate (Quijada and Garcia) participated.
Does anyone actually know if there are more players going under the knife? Like you know statistics to back up their claim or do they just want the narrative because of the ultra successful pitch timer that everyone complained about that everyone now loves and they just don’t want to admit they were wrong?
I prefer anecdotes that support my opinions.
Oh, it’s a great question. I did a bit of digging. From what I can see, 41 players with prior MLB experience underwent TJS last year. The number is probably a tad more the year prior because I got a number of players designated as at the MLB level per the “Tommy John Surgery List” (Google Sheets), and added additional MLB-experienced names. Their list is relatively empty for this year’s data, but I’ve found 14 players with MLB experience that have or will undergo TJS (Gilbreath, Cavalli, Montes de Oca, M. Foster, Brubaker, I. Anderson, Bubic, Ray, Luis Garcia, Austin Warren, Quijada, Marquez, Trivino, Springs). This appears behind the pace, but if you factor in a few players potentially missing, that gap closes a bit. Even more concerning is TJS appears to appear more commonly as the season wears on. At this point last year, only nine players (Campbell, Heuer, Camarena, Crochet, Guenther, D. Guerra, L. Jackson, D. Nunez, and J. Means) had had TJS, and 14 would by the end of the month (when we can expect the recently diagnosed players will have all had it). Perhaps this is within the margin of error then, but still the frequency could be greater. Time will tell.
Long Suffering Mets Fan
Montes de Oca barely had a cup of coffee with the Mets last year to be fair. However, TJS is not exclusive to Major League Players as kids in college and throughout the minors get it as well. I suspect there is an increasing scale from high school up through college, the minors and then the Majors correlating to the age and strength of these pitchers as they age and gain muscle mass.
It’s the way these dumb a organizations bring these players up with the pitch count and early pulls
This one belongs to the Reds
Agreed. Let them pitch. Pitch counts and overuse of bullpens are a big factor. You can tell when a guy is out of gas.
Greg Maddux wasn’t the only one who worked fast. Every game Tom Browning pitched was around two hours, 15 minutes. Most guys out of the minors now are conditioned to work fast due to pitch clock in the minors.
Blame the nerds for this garbage.
Blake the nerds? Did Tommy John not exist before moneyball? I wonder when Tommy John pitched? I love how fans are so delusional about the way baseball used to be they completely miss remember how it was played or what happened. Pitching injuries happened all the time in every decade. The guy who blew his arm out in AA you just didn’t hear about.
The way guys are trained is in my opinion the number one reason for injuries. They aren’t taught how to pitch. They’re taught how to throw harder, and told throw it 100% every pitch. In the 80s, nobody was teaching guys to do that.
Nerds? Like statistics aren’t nerdy? News flash, students of the game are nerds. Catchers are nerds. Broadcasters are nerds. Nerds as a pejorative just demonstrates the jealousy and immaturity of a wannabe-athlete that never was and now wants to put smarter people down because of his own failures. Pathetic.
They’ve also added a roster spot recently which means every team has one more opportunity for injury every day
That sucks. Get well soon
TJS is more common than ever
Recovery is more sure than ever
Pitchers don’t fear it anymore
Pitchers throw as hard as they can and turn and torque their arms and hands violently without regard to health or safety.
TJS is more sure than ever
Recovery is more sure than ever
. . .
No more TJSs this year than in past years. You’re imagining things.
Is h he the one that has that weird delivery ? Like rocking a baby in his hands? that guy?
Dr. Van Nostrand
No, that’s Julius Erving
I think it is, but with the pitch clock, he had to get rid of it this year.
Yes Garcia was the Rocka bye Baby pitcher. Sad loss for this season and whatever of next season. Would say a third of next season or half. He was going good. But I do blame some of the WBC as Garcia was a heavy one with spot on starts for most part of WBC. But who could we get at the deadline. I hope McCullers can help the rotation when returns. Urquidy hope can too when returns. I know Bielak did great the last time out just the one blemish. Whitley in the minors hurting again. Will he ever see the big leagues. He has been injury prone or other things. I hope France can help and his debut tomorrow. Then I
Guess Bielak to close series and Hunter to start Angels series. Lucky a day off Thursday. Myself do not care for pitch clock.
We’re getting a TJS once or more a day.
World Baseball Classic 100%
Long Suffering Mets Fan
Sorry but unless a majority of the pitchers suffering TJS pitched in the WBC this is an unproven statement at best.
Install the sarcasm font. Were you not here for the endless bitching about how the WBC was hurting guys and they owed it to their teams to only play for their employing team?
Long Suffering Mets Fan
Actually was not here for that. I heard a lot of complaining on other platforms that was baseless but people firmly believed the anecdotal “evidence” vs. legitimate evidence.
Wrong. There are pitchers who never pitched in the WBC going down. The max effort to produce the velocity teams now want is the cause.
Also guys trying to produce max spin rates
That’s it! I’m getting Tommy John Surgery too! F this waiting around! I don’t even need it but I’m getting it! It’s all the rage!
But games are faster…yay?
Mike Clevanger, you are a Houston Astro.
We’ve been waiting fifty years. Bring on the bionic arms. Heck, a whole bionic man only costs 6 million. All we need are arms. And lots of them.
With inflation, it’s more like the $60m man.
Don’t forget Moore’s law. Costs of technology tend to either hold steady while the technology improves or even decrease. Except NASA, of course.
I have different feelings about this
How many? And what colors are they? Have you consulted a mood rock?
MadBum, Houston Astro?
I’d take that gamble.
Dude wore his elbow out banging on those trash cans. Sad!
Wow, 46 comments and only one moronic trash can reference so far
And only one person butt-hurt by it!
No one should be butt hurt by it. You’re just a sad sad individual.
Dude give it a rest. Its not remotely funny and it is very very old. I’m not an Astros fan but these trash can jokes are as lame as can be. Good grief
More or less lame than cheating?
Astros Hot Takes
way more lame than stealing signs
Ya they are the only people I have ever muted on here. It’s just annoying.
So you don’t like it when people bring up events that actually happened? Maybe I’d have some sympathy if any of them bothered to apologize. Since they didn’t, and especially as long as that owner is there – they’re a trash can franchise.
Every single one of them apologized
Cheating?! No Yankee Championships since MLB got serious about DRUG TESTING. Hard for NYY to pile up Championships WITHOUT CHEATING!
“since MLB got serious.” So you’re saying the 2009 championship? First, I don’t think it’s clear that A-Rod was still juicing at that point and second there’s no other NYY player who was even accused of juicing at that point, was there? Anyway, we aren’t talking championshipS. We’re talking 2009. Last, you are ssuming no other players were doing PEDs in 2009, when tests were few and far between? Yeah, well, I don’t.
Big blow for the Astros because it’s bad enough he’s out for the rest of this season but next season as well.
Did this kid turn down a contract extension offer?
Pitchers going down all over the Place. Again, I think the Pitch Clock has something to do with this. The pace is too quick, I think, before pitches. Guys are getting hurt having to throw without proper buildup before each pitch. Taking a step off the mound. Taking there time. Stepping off, to rest for themselves and Work the hitter. The pace I think is catching up to major league arms.
Why then did the pitchers from the 70s and 80s not get hurt do much? The pace back then was very similar to what it is today with the pitch clock. It is the constant max effort on every pitch and now they have to do it quicker because of the pitch clock.
Agreed. The styles are much different, with guys throwing hard every pitch. They are throwers, not pitchers. I also listen to post game interviews where the starters state the pace is pretty quick. Anytime you change the nature of pitchers strategy this dramatically, with extra weight muscle etc. There is going to be significant strain on there arms. Guys in the 70s, 80s looked like normal looking guys. Not extreme gym members. Until steroids took over.
The average velocity in the 1970s was 85mph. Throwing hard was hitting 90mph. That is why Nolan Ryan stood out so much throwing in the high 90s.
Wow, 85. Plus strikeouts were not extreme. Sans Nolan Ryan. Maybe he took something at times ? Late in his career. Who knows. 200 ks back then was a large sun. With way more innings. Infield defense was better. Steroids changed the game into batting practice. This era of smaller ballparks. But they adjusted the shift for more offense. But added a pitch clock for pace. Then abolished the NL game. It’s all over the map. Tech stuff, where the league just cannot Not tinker. Idiots. Mostly mad about the universal DH. I liked it in the American League only. Also the schedule is all over the map as well.
Long Suffering Mets Fan
Actually, that was recording the speed at the point it hits the catcher’s glove so it is possible that at the point of release it is harder and comparable to today’s pitchers. Today’s technology is more accurate .today.
The announcers during a recent game were discussing this exact thing. Their point being, while players today are stronger and have the advantages of better tech to support their training, there is not as much difference in performance as we might think between then and now.
Ouch. Hate seeing such talented guys get hurt. Shakes up the AL West a bit maybe? Puts the Rangers in an even better position?
C Yards Jeff
The Os are off to this amazing start. Fingers crossed, but IMO, in large part due to a healthy SP staff. Not the best and not the worst in the MLB, but other than Bradish taking one off the toe and missing a couple of weeks, everyone is making their starts. Again, fingers crossed!
People are blaming the pitch clock or WBC but neither is the case, in my opinion. This wave of TJ surgeries has been going on for a while now. It seems like every young pitcher coming up goes down with this injury. The problem is, pitchers ar being developed to throw max effort 98-99 and at a young age. They are not taught how to pitch. You do not have to be max effort on every pitch. They have to be taught how to pitch at 93-94 as well. It’s the velocity obsession. It’s what teams look at now. There is no way elbows are going to be withstand that kind of repeated max effort. Teach these guys how to pitch, not throw. It is insane how many of these injuries are happening.
They’re missing Verlander even more now.
Motor City Beach Bum
Time to call the Tigers and grab Eduardo Rodriguez before the bidding war starts. He has been lights out all season. Price will only go up the longer you wait! Or…you could shoot for a 4th place finish.
Lol. The Astros aren’t finishing in 4th, even without Garcia. They will win the west easily, with or without an addition.
Motor City Beach Bum
Oh I agree. Their offence is just too good and they always seem to come up with another start SP.
Honestly , I feel it’s just that every pitcher wants to try to throw 100, perhaps the human body is just not up to it.
Blaming wBC , pitch clock , etc is just throwing blame and ignoring the obvious.
Pitching is an unnatural motion. Especially the way everyone is throwing heat nonstop, the body is only going to take so much torque on the bones, muscles and ligaments.
Old school solution. When Cincy Red Jim Merritt blew out his elbow in the early 70s he put a ladies nylon stocking on his arm and kept pitching. Maybe not effectively, but he was styling.
I kinda wonder where he found the nylon stocking though.
Stros will probably swing a couple small deals for some upper level pitching depth. They’ll pluck quality out of seemingly thin air.
France looked good.