Cristian Javier's injury update puts Astros rotation in a bad spot yet again

This isn't exactly the news Astros fans were hoping for.
Houston Astros pitcher Christian Javier
Houston Astros pitcher Christian Javier / Stephen Maturen/GettyImages

There's reason to celebrate, Astros fans. In what can only be described as a horrific start to the 2024 season, the Houston Astros series victory over the AL's best team, the Cleveland Guardians, has to feel good, right? Houston took 2-of-3 from Cleveland and is readying to welcome the Seattle Mariners to Space City this weekend.

But as is oftentimes the case, there's a dose of bad news that comes along with the good news. Christian Javier, who was placed on the IL recently with neck discomfort, will need a rehab assignment before he's deemed to good to return to the active roster.

The hope was, of course, that the Astros' right-hander would return to the rotation this weekend and spare the Houston faithful from watching Hunter Brown take the ball again. Brown has been abysmal for the Astros, but it would appear as though he's guaranteed at least one more start.

Cristian Javier's injury update puts Astros rotation in a bad spot yet again

With Javier slated to begin a rehab assignment, the Astros will sent Ronel Blanco and Framber Valdez to the hill for Houston's first two games against Seattle. Brown and his 9.48 ERA will get the start on Sunday before the 'Stros embark on a road trip that begins in the Bronx and ends in the Motor City.

The Astros upcoming stretch of 29 games in 30 days may warrant a change in philosophy for manager Joe Espada and the Houston rotation. In fact, according to Chandler Rome of The Athletic, Espada mentioned the possibility of a six-man rotation in the coming weeks.

That would seem to indicate that in addition to the trio of Blanco, Valdez, and Brown, the Astros will send out Spencer Arrighetti, Justin Verlander, and perhaps Javier (if he's all-systems-go after his rehab assignment). Teams are not permitted to carry more than 13 pitchers, so Houston's bullpen would be operating one man short.

Arrighetti's latest outing offered some hope to those Astros fans who've been less than entertained watching the rookie right-hander take the mound in recent weeks. But Arrighetti worked a career-best 5.2 innings and only allowed two runs while striking out six in his latest start.

Fans are unlikely, however, to be terribly enthusiastic if Espada's six-man rotation includes Brown. The right-hander has allowed nine hits and nine runs in his last two starts. JP France is another option, but just as undesirable.

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