Astros’ starting pitcher Lance McCullers Jr. underwent Tommy John surgery one year ago today. His rehab is now complete and he’s ready for the 2020 season.
Back in August of 2018, McCullers was diagnosed with a torn UCL (ulnar collateral ligament). But he decided to do some rehab, finish out the 2018 season, and pitch in the playoffs for the Astros. McCullars finished his rehab and returned to the team in late September of that year.
Amazingly enough, he pitched three scoreless relief appearances at the end of the regular season and had an ERA of 1.80 in five postseason games out of the bullpen. Following the postseason on Nov. 6, McCullars had reconstructive surgery to repair his elbow.
Now one year later, to the day, McCullers has completed a long and difficult rehabilitation process and is ready to return to the starting rotation for the upcoming season.
"“My rehab is officially complete. I will be full go for the 2020 season. Thank you to everyone who supported me. I can not wait to put my uni on again and go get it with my dawgs. Blessings.” via his Twitter account."
McCullers thinks the injury actually resulted from shoulder tendinitis he endured back in 2016. In his attempt to overcome the shoulder issue, he altered some of his motions not realizing what the effect would be on other parts of his body. He sprained his UCL way back then and continued having shoulder and elbow problems culminating in last year’s surgery.
He has a 3.67 ERA and a 29-22 record in his four-year career with the Astros. In his first two seasons, McCullers had an ERA of 3.22. The following seasons his ERA rose to 4.25 in 2017 and a 3.86 in 2018. Probably an indication that he was pitching through injuries and pain those two years.
Now we can look forward to a healthier version of McCullers and hopefully great success on the mound for the Astros in 2020. That sets up next season’s starters to include Justin Verlander, Zack Greinke, McCullers, and possibly Jose Urquidy. And if Jeff Luhnow can pull a rabbit out of his hat, maybe even Gerrit Cole. That sure would be one potent rotation for opposing teams to face!