The Astros don’t have an off-day until June 12, so the team had been considering moving to a six-man rotation to help keep their starters fresh during this busy stretch of the schedule. However, manager Dusty Baker told reporters (including the Houston Chronicle’s Danielle Lerner) that the team might be forced to stick with a five-man alignment just due to a lack of available starting depth, since prospect Forrest Whitley has been placed on the Triple-A injured list due to a right lat strain. Whitley was the team’s top option for a spot start or two, and now Ronel Blanco might be the next candidate if Houston does indeed opt for a sixth starter.
Jose Urquidy and Lance McCullers Jr. aren’t expected back until around the All-Star break, while Luis Garcia’s season has already been ended by Tommy John surgery. The injury situation has left the Astros short on starting pitching, and Whitley’s lat strain has again delayed his MLB debut. Once one of the sport’s top prospects, Whitley’s minor league career has been interrupted by a 50-game PED suspension in 2018, and by a Tommy John surgery that cost him the entire 2021 season.
More on other injury situations that arose from today’s games…
- Carlos Santana left during the sixth inning of the Pirates’ 6-3 loss to the Mariners today due to what the Bucs described as lumbar spine muscular tightness. It would certainly seem like Santana will miss a couple of games to recovery, and a trip to the injured list is possible if his back problem doesn’t subside. Connor Joe is the likeliest candidate for first base duty in Santana’s absence, but Pittsburgh might now be facing a depth problem at first base since Ji-Man Choi isn’t eligible to return from the 60-day IL until at least mid-July.
- Twins reliever Emilio Pagan faced only one batter in today’s 3-0 loss to the Blue Jays before departing due to a left hip flexor strain. Both Pagan and manager Rocco Baldelli expressed hope that an IL stint wasn’t necessary, with Pagan telling the Minneapolis Star Tribune’s Jerry Zgoda and other reporters that “hopefully we caught it early enough, that I’m good to go in a day or two. I think I’ll be ready to go tomorrow if need be.”
- Max Muncy left today’s game with a cramp in his left hamstring, and the Dodgers infielder told MLB.com and other media that he has been dealing with cramps throughout the weekend. Muncy will undergo an MRI to further examine the issue, but for now, he is day to day. Between a scorching-hot April and then a big slump for much of May, Muncy is still hitting .208/.340/.530 over 203 plate appearances this season, and he belted his 17th home run before his early exit today.
- X-rays were negative on Owen Miller’s right forearm, after the Brewers infielder was removed as a precautionary measure after being hit by a pitch in today’s game. Manager Craig Counsell told Curt Hogg of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and other reporters that Miller is day to day, and could be back for the team’s next game on Tuesday (Monday is an off-day for the Brew Crew). Miller’s hot bat has earned him more playing time, and after collecting two more hits today, Miller is slashing .330/.371/.513 over 124 PA.