Astros’ starter Jake Odorizzi will begin a rehab assignment in Triple-A Sugar Land on Friday.
After what looked to be a season-ending injury, Jake Odorizzi is one step closer to returning to the Houston Astros‘ rotation. The right-hander is slated for a rehab start Friday for the Sugar Land Space Cowboys who square off with the Tacoma Rainers at home, Brian McTaggart of MLB.com reported.
There is a 30-day window for rehabbing pitchers, but as McTaggart noted, Odorizzi will only need two starts. Pitcher fielding drills were the final hurdle before Odorizzi could get back into live action.
The future plans for the rotation upon Odorizzi’s return are unreported. In July, the Astros have four off days, while three of those are during the All-Star break. The club could resort to a six-man rotation again, bumping Brandon Bielak to Triple-A if the bullpen remains the same by Odorizzi’s return.
In Single-A Fayetteville, Forrest Whitley continues his Minor League rehab assignment. The right-hander pitched Thursday for the Florida Complex League Astros, yielding three runs on three hits and two walks while striking out two.
The last time Whitley pitched in affiliated ball came Sept. 2, 2019, when he was hurling for Double-A Corpus Christi. Following a start with the Woodpeckers, the 24-year-old would likely be on the move as he continues to ramp up for Triple-A.
McTaggart also reported good news for Lance McCullers Jr. who will begin to face live batters when the Astros travel to New York to face the Yankees. Scheduled to throw live batting practice Sunday, McCullers will face hitters for the first time since Game 4 of the 2021 American League Division Series.
While the Astros await the return of Jeremy Peña who took batting practice and fielded grounders this week, Mauricio Dubon is providing exceptional depth in his place, slashing five hits in last 11 trips to the plate. Aledmys Diaz remains on the bench but is “ready” for a return after hitting in the batting cages Wednesday.