SEATTLE MARINERS

AL West Check-In: Two Astros SPs need elbow surgery; Bregman banged up

Jun 5, 2024, 12:43 PM

Houston Astros Cristian Javier...

Cristian Javier of the Houston Astros meets with catcher Yainer Díaz on May 11, 2024. (Nic Antaya/Getty Images)

(Nic Antaya/Getty Images)

HOUSTON (AP) — Houston Astros starters Cristian Javier and José Urquidy are both scheduled to have right elbow surgery, a big blow to a team trying to rebound after a terrible start to the season.

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General manager Dana Brown made the announcement Wednesday, saying Urquidy will have surgery Wednesday while Javier’s is set for Thursday.

“Right now, they are both having an elbow surgery,” Brown said. “We’re not sure to the extent of it, but Tommy John is certainly a possibility talking with both of them.”

Both players will miss the entire season and would miss part of next season if Tommy John surgery is needed, with the typical recovery from the ulnar collateral ligament replacement surgery taking 12-18 months.

Recovery from internal brace, which uses artificial material to make the repair, has allowed pitchers to return to the majors in as little as nine months.

The Astros already were dealing with injuries to their rotation, with starters Luis Garcia and Lance McCullers not pitching yet this season because of injuries and not expected to return until after the All-Star break.

But Brown said he believes the Astros’ rotation, which is led by Justin Verlander and Framber Valdez, will be just fine despite the injuries because Hunter Brown, Spencer Arrighetti and Ronel Blanco have filled in nicely.

“Losing Urquidy and Javier is tough, but thank God, we have the young kids stepping up and they’re starting to throw the ball well,” Brown said. “So I think our rotation’s pretty good right now. You never want to lose those type of arms, but there’s no panic because our guys are really throwing well.”

Houston, which has reached the AL Championship Series in each of the last seven seasons, entered Wednesday’s games in third place in the AL West with a 28-34 record. The Astros trail the Seattle Mariners (35-27) by seven games for the division lead, with Texas (29-32) in between.

MLB standings

Brown said the injuries won’t change how he approaches things leading up to the trade deadline on July 30.

“We’re always in the market for pitching because of reasons like this,” he said. “I’ve been in baseball for 34 years and I know how long and how tough the season is. It’s a grind of 162 and so we’re always in the market of claiming pitchers… and we’re always trying to add to the depth. And so it’s business as usual, we don’t wait until things fall apart before we find answers.”

Urquidy hasn’t pitched this season after straining his right forearm in spring training. He appeared close to coming off the injured list before he left a rehabilitation start for Triple-A Sugar Land with right elbow inflammation on May 24.

The 29-year-old had Tommy John surgery in 2017 and made his big league debut two years later. He was 3-3 with a 5.29 ERA in 10 starts and six relief appearances last season.

In five major league seasons, Urquidy is 27-16 with a 3.98 ERA in 70 starts and nine relief appearances.

Javier was 3-1 with a 3.89 ERA in seven starts for Houston this season. He was placed on the injured list with right forearm discomfort on May 24.

The 27-year-old is 33-18 with a 3.59 ERA in 116 career appearances with 82 starts over five MLB seasons.

Houston Astros All-Star missing time

Houston Astros third baseman Alex Bregman was scratched from Wednesday’s game against the St. Louis Cardinals because of a sore left hand after being hit by a pitch a night before.

Bregman remained in the game Tuesday night after being plunked in the hand in the first inning and finished 1 for 3. X-rays were negative. He originally was in the lineup batting second and playing third base before being scratched about 75 minutes before first pitch.

The Astros already were without Kyle Tucker, with the right fielder missing a second straight game after fouling a ball off his right shin Monday night. Manager Joe Espada said Wednesday that Tucker was still really sore, but the Astros hoped he could return Friday.

Mauricio Dubón was moved from center field to third base with Bregman out, and Jake Meyers was playing center against the Cardinals.

Bregman has led Houston’s offense lately, hitting five home runs in the last eight games.

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AL West Check-In: Two Astros SPs need elbow surgery; Bregman banged up