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Astros: Roberto Osuna injured as Chris Devenski heads to IL

Houston Astros, Roberto Osuna (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
Houston Astros, Roberto Osuna (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images) /
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The Houston Astros continue to absorb injuries to their bullpen with Roberto Osuna and Chris Devenski

The hits just keep on coming. The Houston Astros are already down several relievers, most notably Joe Smith, Brad Peacock, Austin Pruitt and Joe Biagini. Now their depleted bullpen takes another body blow as closer Roberto Osuna left Saturday’s game with an arm injury and veteran Chris Devenski was placed on the Injured List.

Ryan Pressly, who just made his season debut on Saturday after dealing with elbow soreness, will presumably occupy the closer’s role until Osuna returns. Pressly gave up a run in 0.2 innings in his return, so the team will have to hope he returns to form quickly. The success of their season could depend on it.

We saw what happened when the team doesn’t have an effective closer. After Osuna was removed, Cy Sneed coughed up the tying run to send the game into extras. Rookie Nivaldo Rodriguez, in only his second major league appearance after spending all of last year at Class-A, gave up the winning run in the 10th.

In 4.1 innings this season, the only run charged to Osuna was the tying run on Saturday, which had reached base before he was pulled. Devenski had given up three runs in two innings so far this year, so his loss can be easily replaced. The absence of Osuna, however, could prove disastrous if he’s forced to miss a significant length of time.

He’s headed back to Houston to undergo an MRI, so it seems like an IL stint will be forthcoming. The Astros already called up Carlos Sanabria to replace Devenski, which gives them 10 rookies on their pitching staff. Depending on who’s called up to take Osuna’s place, they could end up with 11.

Interestingly, Sanabria was not listed on the team’s initial 56-man player pool, nor is he on the 40-man roster, so moves will have to be made. A 23-year-old right-hander, Sanabria spent most of 2019 with Double-A Corpus Christi, pitching to a 3.11 ERA in 37 appearances with low hit and home run rates but high walk and strikeout rates.

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The remaining pitchers in the player pool include Brett Conine, Luis Garcia and Jojanse Torres. Shawn Dubin and Ralph Garza are on the list but injured, while Cionel Perez and Rogelio Armenteros are unlikely to be ready, and top prospect Forrest Whitley is dealing with arm soreness of his own.

Jose Urquidy is still at least a couple of weeks away from being ready. The Astros recently picked up a pair of veterans in Fernando Rodney and Hector Velazquez, but there’s no word yet on when they will be ready for action. For the time being, we could be looking at another rookie.

For the most part, the rookies have performed well. Left-hander Blake Taylor, in particular, has shined, and Sneed, while he does have a small degree of major league experience, is still a rookie and has performed admirably. Brandon Bielak and Brandon Bailey have both looked good, while Enoli Paredes and Bryan Abreu have had their moments as well.

As I’ve said before, if the Astros don’t have a healthy Justin Verlander, their chances of winning a World Series this year are all but gone. At the rate things are going, the season might get canceled before the postseason even arrives. But at the very least, while we have baseball, we’re getting to see which of these young arms can be relied on in the future.

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