Astros blindside fans with Framber Valdez injury update (with hint of silver lining)

We need more details. Of course.
Toronto Blue Jays v Houston Astros
Toronto Blue Jays v Houston Astros / Logan Riely/GettyImages

Whenever a general manager is made available to describe a last-minute injury scratch, it's usually not a good sign. In the case of Monday's Astros scrum, though, Joe Espada and Co. were not yet ready to reveal any truly dour news about Framber Valdez, who was scratched from his Monday night start.

According to Houston's hastily concocted press conference, Valdez reported some soreness after Sunday's warmups, which remained when he awoke on Monday.

A recent rash of elbow soreness has portended mostly horrific outcomes for pitches across Major League Baseball, calling everything from the pitch clock to the proliferation of breaking balls into question. Private meetings with surgical experts are at an anecdotal all-time high.

Valdez, too, will consult further with doctors in the days to come and come to an ultimate conclusion on the integrity of his elbow. As of now, though, Astros manager Joe Espada was encouraged by the fact that the team opted not to place him on the IL immediately, prior to any further (and more detailed) examination.

Astros LHP Framber Valdez scratched with elbow soreness, not placed on IL

For the moment, Valdez is in purgatory, but the prognosis isn't overwhelmingly negative just yet.

Unfortunately for the Astros, it isn't formally positive yet, either. This whole process will drag out beyond Monday evening, no matter how encouraged Houston's brass remains for the time being.

In Valdez's place, right-hander Blair Henley will start Monday night's game. Henley, a 2019 seventh-rounder from -- oh, you're either gonna love this or hate this -- the University of Texas allowed three runs and struck out six in five innings in his 2024 season debut with Triple-A Sugar Land. Henley hasn't posted an ERA below 5.00 in a full season since 2019.

Valdez's rehabbing teammate Justin Verlander spoke passionately about the rise of pitcher injuries on Monday, an epidemic that was bound to strike his own backyard sooner rather than later. After all, several weeks had passed since Jose Urquidy's injury. It's arguably never been worse than it is now, and Houston will certainly hope to avoid Valdez's worst-case scenario, with more consulting still to come.