The Houston Astros placed both Jose Altuve and Lance McCullers Jr. on the IL this weekend.
The Houston Astros have had more than their share of injury woes this season, and things aren’t getting any better on that front. The team placed second baseman Jose Altuve on the Injured List with a right knee sprain on Saturday and then followed that up by sending pitcher Lance McCullers Jr. to the shelf on Sunday with neck nerve irritation.
Altuve was injured as he slid into third base on Thursday, and though manager Dusty Baker was optimistic that the injury was not serious, ultimately the team felt that playing a man short during a stretch with two doubleheaders in four days was not ideal. The expectation is that he’ll be ready to go when his IL stint is done.
McCullers failed to record an out in his start on Friday, though he said after the game he was not hurt. Baker referred to it as “dead arm,” while McCullers said it was “a weird period” that happens when a pitcher is coming back from Tommy John surgery. It was initially believed that McCullers would start on Tuesday given his lack of work on Friday, but now he’ll hit the shelf for a couple of turns.
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With Altuve resting, Aledmys Diaz will probably get the majority of starts at second base. He’s a solid hitter, so he should help the lineup in that role. Jack Mayfield will also get his chances there as well, as the team won’t expect Diaz to play every game, especially when the schedule is this busy.
For McCullers, the team has already announced who’ll take his spot in the rotation. Rookie Luis Garcia will be starting on Wednesday against Oakland, which would have been McCullers’ next regular turn in the rotation, so the youngster will get to make his first major league start.
Garcia relieved McCullers on Friday and allowed one run on one hit with three walks and two strikeouts in 4.1 innings against the Angels. He’s ranked as the team’s No. 17 prospect, with the scouting report noting his lively fastball and solid changeup.
Hopefully McCullers will be able to return once his IL stint is over as well. If the Astros are going to have any chance of making a postseason run, they’ll need a healthy Altuve and McCullers helping to lead the way.