A forearm strain has kept Astros right-hander Lance McCullers Jr. out of action since Aug. 4, but he’s progressing toward a return. McCullers threw a 30-pitch bullpen session Saturday, saying afterward (via Chandler Rome of the Houston Chronicle) that it represented “a big step,” even though he didn’t throw any curveballs. The plan is for McCullers to mix in his famous curve during his next bullpen session, which is scheduled for Wednesday. If that goes well, there may be a clearer picture regarding a potential return date for McCullers, whom the Astros are likely to use in relief when he does come back.
- More from Rome, who delves into the surprising struggles of Astros shortstop Carlos Correa. The 23-year-old has been woeful since Aug. 10, when he returned from an almost two-month layoff. Correa was on the shelf with a lower back injury, and he revealed Saturday that his back has occasionally been a problem since he came off the DL, noting that “it’s just been hard to get in a rhythm.” Correa doesn’t want to use his back as an excuse for his slump, Rome writes, but he admitted that “it definitely has played a role in the way my swing has changed a little bit and some of the bad habits I’ve acquired.” When he went on the DL, Correa was sitting on a .265/.351/.474 batting line. He’s now at .242/.326/.415 – good for an 84-point drop in his OPS.
- Athletics southpaw Brett Anderson is nearing a return from a forearm strain, per Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle. Anderson, who has been out since Aug. 28, may rejoin the A’s rotation as early as Wednesday or Thursday, Slusser reports, as the 30-year-old offered an encouraging assessment after a bullpen session Saturday. His absence, not to mention those of other injured A’s starters (including Sean Manaea), has helped steer the playoff contenders toward incorporating more bullpen games. But once Anderson returns, Oakland may cut down on those, Slusser writes.
- In an effort to evaluate their younger players, the Rangers are removing right-hander Bartolo Colon from their rotation in favor of fellow righty Adrian Sampson, Jeff Wilson of the Star-Telegram reports. Unless Texas plugs Colon back into its rotation within the next few weeks, it’s fair to wonder whether the 45-year-old has made his last major league start. Colon wants to pitch in 2019, but whether he’ll draw much interest in the offseason is in question. The estimable Colon’s effectiveness has evaporated dating back to last season, including during his 144 1/3 innings with the Rangers this year. Across 26 appearances and 24 starts, he has posted a 5.55 ERA/5.31 FIP. As a result, he may be in line to finish 2018 (and perhaps his career) as a reliever.