While a shoulder injury pushed Andre Scrubb to the 60-day injured list on August 10, the Houston Astros right-hander has begun throwing off a mound, as reported by Danielle Lerner of the Houston Chronicle. Scrubb’s right-shoulder strain has sidelined him since July 19, as his 60-day stint has him eligible to be reinstated on September 19.
With minor-league options and a high upside, Scrubb wasn’t a victim to DFA over the last month. Command has been a struggle over the last year, but Scrubb’s injured list placement could’ve been a last resort, as he might not see a major-league mound again this season.
The Astros’ 40-man roster is full, but is there a possibility Andre Scrubb returns this season?
A September 19 return leaves Scrubb 14 games for the remainder of the season to play in, if activated and not optioned. With the roster expanding to 28 players in the month of September, it is inevitable to have late-season call-ups that will vary based on need with Josh James, Bryan Abreu, Brandon Bielak and Peter Solomon being viable options.
While posting a 5.03 ERA over 19.2 innings this season, Scrubb also pitched in an even small sample size in Triple-A with a 1.35 ERA in 6.2 innings of work. The right-hander’s 2021 campaign has been shortened due to two injuries, but his return to the active roster this season seems out of reach.
Looking at the current state of the Astros’ bullpen, there aren’t any relievers on the chopping block of losing their jobs or being sent down. At this point, the possibility of Brooks Raley being designated for assignment is drifting away, and although Rafael Montero has been pitching better than expected, the right-hander is waiting on a second opinion on his shoulder injury.
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Montero’s situation is another uncertain one, as the right-hander was a throw-in that has performed well. If his injury is eyed as a long-term ordeal, then Scrubb’s 40-man roster spot is located there.
After throwing 20 pitches off a mound at the spring training facilities in West Palm Beach, Scrubb could hit a 30-day rehab assignment in the coming weeks, but this would likely push his possible return even further past his September 19 eligibility.
If Scrubb is never activated, he could run a rehab assignment into the end of the minor-league season (Oct. 3), so he doesn’t go months without pitching in live situations.
While Scrubb might not see a postseason roster in 2021, making room for him on the 40-man roster would likely come from DFAing infield depth or moving a pitcher to the 60-day injured list, which both seem less than ideal.
Nothing more has been reported on if Scrubb will be sent on a rehab assignment, but his arm isn’t an upgrade to anyone currently in the bullpen unless the team turns to a nine-man unit again.