Astros AM: The Latest Infirmary Update
By Cody Poage
Players arms are finicky, aren’t they? The Houston Astros have found that out the hard way in 2016.
In the midst of a playoff race, the Houston Astros are still two-and-a-half games out of the second Wild Card spot. However, the team may have to move forward for an indefinite amount of time without one of their most notable pitchers, Dallas Keuchel.
In a way, this is good news for the Astros if you prescribe to the long term scope. Not so much from the short term. More than likely, Sunday’s session will begin to shape the timetable.
Unfortunately, it does appear that Keuchel will likely be out for at least his next two starts. That smarts when the absence takes place in September. But when you start thinking long term, it is a relief that his shoulder has no structural damage. After all, the Astros figure to have Keuchel in the future plans going forward. If he rebounds next year, he is a likely candidate for a contract extension with the club if the two sides can agree to a deal.
The news that is worrisome is the “no timetable for return”.
Even though Keuchel has struggled quite a bit in 2016, he has been a relatively steady force in the Astros rotation. And he is arguably the best starter that the Astros have when everything is clicking. Heading into the final three or so weeks of the season without him every fifth day is not good. Not good at all.
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How about the other Astro with a shoulder ailment? What is his status?
Carlos Correa‘s shoulder has steadily improved since earlier in the week. He is considered day-to-day at the moment.
Per Alyson Footer of MLB.com, general manager Jeff Luhnow does expect that the 21-year old star shortstop will be able to suit up sometime this weekend.
"“Correa will be back this weekend sometime — I’m not worried about him being available for the bulk of this stretch we’re in right now,” general manager Jeff Luhnow said on Friday."
Gaining the reigning AL Rookie of the Year against the Cubs would be a boost for an Astros offense that was held scoreless in last night’s losing effort. Of course, there is no guarantee that Correa would have changed the outcome of the game. Cubs starter Jon Lester was absolutely dealing last night. But the chances of winning with Correa ought to be much higher than not playing with him.
And here is one last bit of injury news.
This time it involves another Astros pitcher that is currently on the mend: Lance McCullers.
It would be awfully surprising to see McCullers return to game action anytime soon. It is very well possible, and I believe more likely than Keuchel, that his 2016 season is over. Of course, that could be an incorrect assumption. But elbows are a tricky part of the arm to speculate upon until more concrete evidence of improvement comes forth.
Next: Astros AM: Hope Still Exists, But...
From here on out though, the Astros are going to be shorthanded in their arguably toughest portion of the home schedule. After the Cubs leave town, the AL West leading Texas Rangers come to Houston. Mercy, let’s hope some of last year’s mojo comes back soon.