Astros better hope Verlander can be ready soon after latest Urquidy injury update

Jose Urquidy's injury couldn't have come at a worst time for the Astros.
Championship Series - Houston Astros v Texas Rangers - Game Four
Championship Series - Houston Astros v Texas Rangers - Game Four / Carmen Mandato/GettyImages

The one thing that the Houston Astros really needed to accomplish in the last couple weeks of spring training was to avoid anymore injuries. With Justin Verlander, JP France, and Jose Abreu all in various stages of being dinged up, any other significant injuries could really upset the apple cart when it comes to getting off to a good start in 2024. Unfortunately, Jose Urquidy's elbow had other plans.

Late last week, Urquidy pulled himself from his spring start due to pain in his throwing elbow. That, in itself, is never great news. After getting an MRI over the weekend to determine next steps, it was revealed that Urquidy has a forearm strain which is certainly not the worst news, but it also isn't good. He will start the season on the IL, as Joe Espada declined comment on further details Monday morning.

Urquidy's injury places renewed importance on Verlander's recovery for Astros

Again, if it was revealed that Urquidy had torn his UCL, that would have been strictly worse news. Based on what we know at the moment, that isn't the case. However, it does seem like it could be at least a little while before Urquidy could start throwing again, even in the best-case scenario. The righty may need a rehab stint in the minors, and that places a lot more emphasis on Justin Verlander and his recovery.

Ever since Verlander revealed that he was delayed due to issues with his shoulder, the Astros' rotation was in a tenuous position early in the season. All the news since then has been largely positive about his progress, and Verlander is throwing off the mound again, but the length of the ace's IL stint matters a whole lot more now, given Urquidy's injury.

The good news is that the Astros have options. In addition to the persistent Blake Snell rumors, which appear to be unlikely to come to fruition at the moment, Houston does have Spencer Arrighetti as an internal option, as well as Ronel Blanco. The latter probably has the leg up right now, given that he is already on the 40-man roster.

In short, the Urquidy news is pretty brutal when it comes to timing. The Astros are fortunate to have some options to cover innings in the short-term, but the true fallout will be known once we know more about how soon JP France -- and especially Verlander -- will be back and actually starting games.

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