Astros get promising update on Luis Garcia recovery timeline

Luis Garcia remains ahead of schedule in his recovery from Tommy John.
Houston Astros Workout
Houston Astros Workout / Rich Storry/GettyImages

Coming into 2024, the depth of the starting rotation was a big question mark for the Astros. Five games in, a resurgent Cristian Javier and a dominant Ronel Blanco no-hitter have alleviated some concerns, but Houston is still missing huge pieces in the rotation, and have almost no depth in the bullpen.

Luis Garcia is one of four starters the Astros are missing to begin the year. Garcia underwent Tommy John surgery in May last year, and was expected to be out until the All-Star break this season.

Yesterday, Garcia threw off a mound for the first time since his injury. While he threw only 15 pitches, this is huge news for the Astros. He is ahead of schedule in his recovery, a massive boost for a team in desperate need of proven arms.

The typical recovery from Tommy John is 12-18 months. While the Astros won't rush Garcia back, it looks like his recovery will fall on the shorter side of the 12-18 month rehab spectrum.

Astros need Luis Garcia back from Tommy John surgery as soon as possible

Garcia has started 63 games in his Astros career, posting a 3.61 ERA and 1.16 WHIP. The 2021 AL Rookie of the Year runner-up had an unforgettable showing in Game 3 of the 2022 ALDS, throwing five scoreless innings in relief to give the Astros a 1-0 victory.

Getting a proven arm like this back lifts both the Astros rotation and bullpen. Assuming Justin Verlander is back soon, the Astros would be able to deploy a six-man rotation in the near future. When Garcia returns, he will plug back in as one of the six arms.

A returning Garcia likely allows for one of Blanco or J.P. France to move to the bullpen. Returns of Lance McCullers Jr. and Jose Urquidy will only solidify the rotation further.

Although Bryan Abreu, Ryan Pressly and Josh Hader all had their scuffles against the Yankees, those three are too dominant not to bounce back. Questions as to who will bridge to those three arms remain.

A return of a borderline All-Star like Garcia will allow for some flexibility in the pen to fortify the bridge, and bring more innings to a rotation to limit the workload on those three arms.

The Luis Garcia return can't come soon enough.