Astros: 2 pitchers that could be candidates for 60-day IL

Mandatory Credit: Erik Williams-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Erik Williams-USA TODAY Sports /
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With Marwin Gonzalez and Jose Siri joining the active roster, the Houston Astros filled their 40-man roster, as the two were in Triple-A. While Zack Greinke and Taylor Jones hit the 10-day injured list due to health and safety protocol, the two don’t count against the 40-man, but their returns are nearing.

For Greinke and Jones to rejoin the roster, there will need to be two corresponding moves. At this point in the season, moving pitchers to the 60-day IL or DFAing infield depth would most likely be the route the Astros take.

Jason Castro’s injury doesn’t look to be as serious, as the catcher is hitting of a tee and throwing in a recent report. While Michael Papierski was eyed as a possible roster replacement, the catcher was optioned off of the taxi squad on Monday, as the Astros returned to Minute Maid Park.

There is no word on when Castro will return, but a 60-day IL stint to free open a roster spot doesn’t look to be on the agenda for the ball club. This leaves the Astros in a spot to either DFA or place pitchers on the 60-day, as Siri’s promotion to the 40-man looks to be permanent while he can still be optioned or even returned to Triple-A.

With the 40-man roster full, two Astros pitchers could be moved to the 60-day IL.

Rafael Montero

While starting to throw off flat ground for the first time since sustaining his shoulder injury on Aug. 8, Rafael Montero was having an effective stint with the Astros; the right-hander hadn’t allowed a run over six innings if work.

Montero is currently in a throwing program, while being out of baseball for close to a month. With the roster currently full, Montero could be moved to the 60-day IL, as his return could most likely come late September or early October, before the postseason. He would still be eligible for the postseason, if needed.

Pedro Baez

The Astros’ ballad of Pedro Baez is a confusing one that has been delayed by injuries and COVID-19, while the right-hander was placed on the 10-day IL without cause two weeks ago. With his velocity down immensely, the right-hander’s low leverage usage topped out at four outings.

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Baez is also throwing off flat ground, but with the current status of the pitching staff in regard to a 26-man roster, Baez and even Montero could be on the outside looking in. If his velocity isn’t restored, then there could be more to his injury that we don’t know.

Other Options to free space:

Looking at the 40-man roster, Forrest Whitley and Jairo Solis will not be contributors this season, as injuries have sidelined them in 2021. Moving them to the 60-day IL starts their service clock and pays them as major-leaguers.

Designating Robel Garcia or Jacob Wilson for assignment could also be options, especially after Gonzalez’s signing. For Freudis Nova, the Astros are protecting him by having him on the 40-man, but the 21-year-old is slashing .213/.288/.315 in 67 games in High-A. General manager James Click added Nova to the 40-man, so it’s hard to see him DFA the infielder.

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For Andre Scrubb, who is on the 60-day IL, the right-hander started his rehab assignment on Aug. 31, leaving his 30-day period open until the end of September. The season dips into the first week of August this year, and with Scrubb’s command issues still alive, it is hard to imagine he contributes in the postseason.

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