Astros: Welcome back George Springer and Collin McHugh!
By Brian Murray
The Astros are slowly but surely getting their 25-man roster back to normal. George Springer and Collin McHugh have been removed from the Injured List.
It’s been a while since we’ve seen Springer in that familiar leadoff spot and even longer since McHugh has been on the mound for the Astros. The last time Springer was in the lineup was May 24 against the Red Sox and McHugh threw his last pitch for Houston on May 14. Sometimes it seemed like they were gone longer, but we welcome them back with open arms.
Reymin Guduan and Rogelio Armenteros have been sent back down to the Astros AAA affiliate in Round Rock to make room on the roster for Springer and McHugh. That puts the number of pitchers on the 25-man roster back to twelve.
If you’ll remember, Springer was out for four games due to back stiffness. Then, on his first day back, he was pulled from the game after injuring his hamstring sliding to catch a foul ball. It was initially feared that it was going to be much worse than it was but turned out to be a grade 2 strain.
With a few players experiencing setbacks in their rehab, they were going to be extra cautious bringing Springer back. He gradually increased his workouts and baseball activities until he was ready for his rehab assignment.
He played in three games down in Corpus Christi and started off with a bang clobbering two home runs in his first rehab game. In the three games with the AA club, he went 4-for-10 with five RBIs and three runs scored.
McHugh started feeling elbow soreness a couple of days after his May 14 appearance and was finally placed on the 10-day IL on May 21. Fortunately, an MRI showed no damage and they decided just to give it a rest for a while before starting any throwing program.
He pitched his first rehab game for Corpus Christi back on June 17 and gave up one earned run on two hits while striking out two. After a few days rest, he pitched back-to-back games on the 21st and 22nd. In those two appearances, he pitched 1.2 innings of hitless ball and struck out one.
It will be interesting to see what transpires with McHugh’s role on the team. I would assume he’ll start out back in the pen. But if he shows enough success in his return, who knows, he may find his way back into the starting rotation.
The fifth spot in the rotation has been somewhat of a revolving door lately. Maybe, if McHugh goes back to a starting role, Framber Valdez could be that needed left-handed pitcher they’re lacking out of the bullpen.
It’ll be really nice seeing Springer stepping up to the plate leading off for the Astros again, especially with Jose Altuve also back and heating up. It could be that spark they’ve needed to get back in their winning ways. Then hopefully, after the All-Star break, Carlos Correa and Aledmys Diaz will return and they’ll be back at full strength.