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Astros pitcher Lance McCullers out for season following surgery

Lance McCullers will miss the rest of the season for the Astros

Lance McCullers” by Keith Allison is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0 .

Houston Astros pitcher Lance McCullers Jnr will miss the rest of the 2023 MLB regular season after undergoing surgery on a long-running fitness problem this week.

The 29-year-old’s injury woes date back a couple of years when he injured his flexor tendon during the 2021 American League Division Series. His problems were aggravated during spring training in February and now a setback in rehab has led him to undergo surgery to remove what’s described as a “lima bean”-sized bone spur in his right forearm.

“You hate seeing anybody hurt, especially hurt a second time,” Astros manager Dusty Baker said. “From what I’ve talked to the trainers and the doctors, he has a chance to be back as good as new. If anybody can come back, it’s Lance because he’s in great shape and works his butt off. I’m sure it’s a little bit of a downer, but he knew something was wrong.”

McCullers’ absence will be a headache for the Astros, who have heavily relied on his incredible pitching arm across the last few highly successful seasons, during which they’ve made it to the World Series twice, winning in the sport’s biggest prize in 2022 after beating the Philadelphia Flyers 4-2.

However, General Manager Dana Brown said the decision is the right one, both for the team and the player: “Lance is a grinder, and he tried to, with grit, pure grit, tried to fight through the injury and come back. And so that happened in ’21, and in ’22, he ended up coming back some, so you could give him cheers for his grit to come back.

“And then starting out this year, he felt like he was going to be fine and continued to press through it, and it continued to bother him. So with this surgery, we feel good, because at the end of the day, it was just the flexor tendon and also the bone spur, which gives him a chance to come back sometime in ’24.”

McCullers loss won’t hit Astros, GM says

With the Astro looking to become the first back-to-back World Series winners in two decades, they’re looking strong and currently sit second in the American League West, behind their local rivals, the Texas Rangers.

But McCullers isn’t their only major injury frustration. Fellow pitcher Luis Garcia underwent Tommy John surgery on May 19th, while José Urquidy is also out after suffering from a right shoulder inflammation earlier in the month.

Despite this run of bad luck, Brown said his team won’t be looking for additional resources in the pitching area come the trade deadline and will instead put their faith in youth.

“Our young guys are stepping up right now, and then we’re expecting them to gain some more experience,” Brown said. “At some point, we will get McCullers back, and the beauty of it is we feel like we’re gonna get a completely healthy McCullers that could post throughout the rest of his time. But I think we’re in good shape in terms of depth.”

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