He virtually couldn’t pitch in the postseason, and his absence was felt in the World Series against the Atlanta Braves.
Now that Justin Verlander is back pitching and Framber Valdez appears to have taken a step forward, McCullers is no longer required to be the ace in H-Town, but he is once again out with an injury, and the team misses him.
Fortunately for him, he seems to be inching closer to a return, at least according to Fox 26 (KRIV)’s Mark Berman.
“Lance McCullers Jr.(@lmccullers43) says he will pitch to hitters during a live BP Saturday in New York. A significant step for Lance as he works to get back in the rotation. Lance also threw curveballs yesterday during his bullpen for the first time during this process,” he tweeted.
Lance McCullers Jr (@lmccullers43) says he will pitch to hitters during a live BP Saturday in New York. A significant step for Lance as he works to get back in the rotation. Lance also threw curveballs yesterday during his bullpen for the first time during this process. @astros
— Mark Berman (@MarkBermanFox26) June 22, 2022
A Long Recovery Is Nearing Its End
McCullers is out with a forearm injury that he originally suffered last season and re-aggravated in January.
The recovery process has been extremely slow, but at least he seems to be trending in the right direction.
Once he accumulates a few live batting practice sessions, he should go on a rather lengthy rehab assignment in the minor leaguers.
The Astros seem to believe he could be ready to rejoin the rotation at some point in July.
He was an asset last season, with a 13-5 record and a very solid 3.16 ERA in 162.1 innings.
He struck out 185 hitters and showed he can be a frontline starter.
If the Astros can get him back at full health, they could be very difficult to knock out in the playoffs.