Astros injury woes continue with key starter hitting the injured list

The Astros' rotation took another hit over the weekend.
Texas Rangers v Houston Astros
Texas Rangers v Houston Astros / Tim Warner/GettyImages

You will struggle to find a team whose starting rotation has been more impacted by injuries than the Houston Astros. Their spring training started with Justin Verlander and JP France banged up along with Lance McCullers Jr. and Luis Garcia recovering from long-term injuries. Since the season started, Framber Valdez hit the injured list with an elbow issue and Jose Urquidy is dealing with arm soreness. It hasn't been a good time.

One of the bright spots for the Astros' rotation this season alongside Ronel Blanco has been Cristian Javier, who has posted a 1.54 ERA in his four starts with 18 strikeouts in 24.1 innings. Unfortunately, the injury monster came to claim him as well. Javier was placed on the 15-day IL with a neck injury.

Astros News: Cristian Javier hits the injured list with neck injury

This is a colossal bummer as it was starting to look like Houston was at least starting to get healthy again even though they are still playing quite bad. Verlander came back from his absence to help give the Astros a much-needed win on Friday, and both Garcia and Valdez are inching their way back from the IL.

Now, the Astros will have to turn once again to Spencer Arrighetti to continue to learn on the job in Javier's absence. There isn't a timeline for Javier's return, but the lack of a specific injury designation beyond "his neck hurts" does seem to indicate that Houston is going to monitor him for a bit before deciding if he needs an MRI or anything like that.

Oddly enough, all of these starter injuries haven't been the Astros' biggest problem as the rotation ranks a reasonable, but still not great, 19th in all of baseball by fWAR this season. Unfortunately, the Astros' bullpen has been terrible and key offensive pieces like Alex Bregman and especially Jose Abreu have failed to do much to start the season.

Getting the rotation healthy again is still going to have to be a priority for the Astros to climb out of the AL West cellar, though. Starters going deeper into games will give the bullpen fewer opportunities to blow games and keep the pressure off of Houston's struggling offense. Unfortunately, Javier's injury throws a major wrench into those plans.

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