Pitchers inevitably have injuries sooner or later. And the Astros, like all baseball teams, happen to have pitchers. Oh, look, one of their pitchers is injured. How, not surprising.
Unless you have been living under a rock the past six weeks, you may had heard that Collin McHugh hasn’t been at a hundred percent. The right-hander has been battling “dead arm” throughout Spring Training, but it appeared that he was making progress towards a major league return.
Then Thursday’s start in Fresno happened. Cue the dreary music.
This is definitely not the news that the Astros nor McHugh were expecting. I bet everyone in the organization immediately held their breath as soon as they found out that a rotation mainstay in the past three seasons suddenly goes down with an elbow issue. The good news is McHugh will not require surgery.
This essentially means that the Astros will likely stick with a rotation of Dallas Keuchel, Lance McCullers, Charlie Morton, Joe Musgrove, and Mike Fiers until proven otherwise. And this may not be a bad thing. While the rotation has been through a full cycle just once, the Astros have received solid starts in each game this season.
Keuchel (4/3): 7 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 4 SO
McCullers (4/4): 6 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 7 SO
Morton (4/5): 6 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 4 SO
Musgrove (4/6): 5 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 3 BB, 2 SO
Fiers (4/7): 6 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 3 BB, 3 SO
At this point, the earliest McHugh could possibly return to the Astros active roster is mid-June. This includes the six weeks of no pitching activity plus the time required to ramp up for game action and a minor league assignment.
McHugh’s absence also brings a popular topic from the offseason into more relevancy in the regular season: the need for a quality starting pitcher.
As you may all recall, the Astros were reportedly involved in trade discussions for starting pitchers like Jose Quintana and Chris Archer. Quintana, though, was the name most frequently attached to Houston. Well, look for those rumors to start ramping up once again. Oh wait, they already have as of this afternoon.
This is not surprising in the slightest. In fact, the rumors would still be flying around even if McHugh was not on the mend. At this point in time, I just don’t see the Astros parting ways with the prospects needed to consummate a deal with the White Sox. But I have been wrong before on other topics and could very well be wrong again.
**Statistics courtesy of MLB.com**