Astros News

Astros ace Dallas Keuchel back to the DL with neck discomfort

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May 27, 2017; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Astros starting pitcher Dallas Keuchel (60) delivers a pitch during the second inning against the Baltimore Orioles at Minute Maid Park. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports
May 27, 2017; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Astros starting pitcher Dallas Keuchel (60) delivers a pitch during the second inning against the Baltimore Orioles at Minute Maid Park. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports /
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Here we go again, the Houston Astros place their ace, Keuchel, back on the DL.

Astros ace Dallas Keuchel was scratched last night with what was called an illness, it appears to be something more serious. He’s got what we can now refer to as a recurring injury. Anytime you are talking about a neck injury, that’s nothing to mess around with. Neck discomfort is not a minor thing. Keuchel is now on the 10-day DL.

Being the competitor he is, Keuchel came back after missing one start last time. With this being his second time around with this, look for the Astros to be a little more patient with him. Not to alarm the readers, but Jordan Zimmermann faced this injury last year. He has yet to return to form.

The fallout.

The Astros have built themselves a little cushion to absorb the loss of Keuchel for now. There is no timetable for return at this point. They need him healthy and ready for the playoffs. With Keuchel out of the picture, Lance McCullers is now the de facto ace for now.

Currently in the rotation will be McCullers, Brad Peacock, Mike Fiers, and David Paulino. Who is the fifth starter depends on the health of Joe Musgrove, who is expected back this weekend and Martes. If Musgrove is not ready, I can see Martes pitching 2-3 innings today and taking over Keuchel’s spot in the rotation.

If Musgrove is ready, then either Diaz or Martes will be going down. Diaz has done nothing to prove that he belongs. Jordan Jankowski is eligible to return tomorrow if they want him instead of Diaz or Martes. The 25th roster spot will probably fluctuate when needed.

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This could open up a big opportunity for Martes should he pitch well. Martes has struggled with 28 walks in 32 1/3 innings in Triple-A. No matter how well Martes pitches, no one can fill Keuchel’s beard. He is 9-0 with a 1.67 ERA in 11 starts this year.

Via the Josh Innes show, Jeff Luhnow issued this statement.

“Any injury to our Ace is of at least moderate concern, but this one doesn’t feel too bad.”

Keuchel joins Collin McHugh, Charlie Morton, and Joe Musgrove on the DL. To put Martes on the 40-man roster, the Astros placed McHugh on the 60-day DL retroactive to the beginning of the season via Jake Kaplan.

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McHugh is no closer to returning, so it makes sense to do it. Geoff Blum is getting tired of people asking him about McHugh. This is a case of no news is bad news. Keuchel is back in Houston getting looked at. We will get a better timetable later, but there is no timetable for return right now.

***Stats from Baseball-Reference***

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