Injuries & Moves: Verlander throws; Garcia to throw over break

July 14th, 2024

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July 14: RHP throws bullpen session
Verlander threw a light bullpen session on Sunday morning. Manager Joe Espada said that Verlander, who hasn't pitched since June 9 because of "neck discomfort," threw 25 pitches in Sunday's session.

"He looks really good,” Espada said on Sunday.

The current plan is for Verlander to throw another bullpen session in the upcoming days.

July 14: RHP Luis Garcia to throw bullpen session over ASG break
Garcia will stay in Houston over the All-Star break and is expected to throw a bullpen session, per manager Joe Espada. Garcia was originally expected to throw a bullpen session on July 11, but that was initially delayed due to Hurricane Beryl, Espada said. There is no timetable yet for Garcia's third Minor League rehab start.

“The arm wasn’t working, wasn’t feeling as good as we wanted it to feel,” Espada said on July 12. “We want to make sure he feels good the next time we get him on the mound.”

However, Espada emphasized that Garcia not throwing is “not a setback” at the moment.

July 13: IF Aledmys Díaz signed to Minor League deal
Díaz, who was released last week by the A's, was returned to the fold by the Astros, for whom he played four seasons from 2019-22. During his previous tenure in Houston, Díaz slashed .255/.313/.424 -- right in line with his overall career numbers -- with 32 homers and 129 RBIs in 262 games.

Díaz was assigned to the franchise's Minor League complex in West Palm Beach, Fla., and could be there for a couple of weeks, manager Joe Espada said.

"I'm happy to have him back," Espada said. "No only what he brings to table and his versatility, the right-handed bat and how successful he's been against lefty pitching, but he's a veteran presence. He's very well-liked and respected in the clubhouse. He's a voice for years that players listened to. I think that's something that we were looking for in a player. Excited to have him back."

July 13: RF (right shin contusion) progressing
Tucker met with the media prior to Saturday's game and provided an update on his progress on a shin contusion that's kept him out of action since June 3. Tucker returned to the field in recent days to play catch with his teammates and has been hitting in the batting cages and running on a treadmill for more than a week. He said the leg feels better each day.

"I'm able to do more stuff every single day," he said. "Obviously, it's taken a little while and that part is kind of frustrating, but just trying to get back as fast as possible, but there are improvements every day. That's encouraging, so I have to keep doing that until I'm able to get back out there."

Tucker, voted to the All-Star Game as a reserve, is still hopeful to return early in the second half of the season. He said he'll remain in Houston during the break to continue his rehab.

"I'm trying to take it day by day and get back as fast as possible," he said. "I hate missing games and not playing. We're doing pretty well the last month and a half or so. It's been fun watching these guys play. They've had a lot of success recently, but at the same time I want to be out there playing as well. I don't like hanging around and sitting here and watching."

10-DAY/15-DAY INJURED LIST

RHP (neck stiffness)
Expected return: After the All-Star break
Verlander threw a light bullpen session on July 14. Manager Joe Espada said that Verlander, who hasn't pitched since June 9 because of neck discomfort, threw 25 pitches.

"He looks really good," noted Espada after Verlander's session. The current plan is for Verlander to throw another bullpen session in the coming days.

The veteran right-hander initially felt as though he would be able to avoid a stint on the injured list, but he was placed on the IL (retroactive to June 16). Verlander began the season on the injured list with a shoulder issue and went 3-2 with a 3.95 ERA in 10 starts before suffering his neck issue. (Last updated: July 14)

C (left hip flexor strain)
Expected return: After the All-Star break
Manager Joe Espada said on July 12 that Caratini was in West Palm Beach, Fla.; Caratini took part in live batting practice on July 13. The Astros will get Caratini “on the bases during the week” and will go from there.

Caratini, who sustained his injury sliding into home plate on June 19 in Chicago, was facing about a four-week recovery, according to the team. That timetable puts his return around the All-Star Game, but likely after. He was slashing .248/.287/.429 with four homers and 17 RBIs in 115 plate appearances as the Astros’ backup catcher. (Last updated: July 14)

OF (right shin contusion)
Expected return: After the All-Star break
Tucker was back on the outfield grass at Minute Maid Park on July 12 and played catch for the second day in a row. He has been out since June 3, when he fouled a ball off his right shin, and has been slow to recover.

"Once you do that, now everything we start doing with him is going to be outside, and that’s a step in the right direction," Astros manager Joe Espada said.

Tucker said on July 13 that he is still hopeful to return early in the second half of the season. (Last updated: July 13)

60-DAY INJURED LIST

RHP Luis Garcia (Tommy John surgery)
Expected return: Late July
Garcia will stay in Houston over the All-Star break and is expected to throw a bullpen session during that span, per manager Joe Espada.

Garcia was supposed to throw a bullpen session on July 11, but that was initially delayed due to Hurricane Beryl, Espada said. There is no timetable yet for his third Minor League rehab start.

"The arm wasn’t working, wasn’t feeling as good as we wanted it to feel,” Espada said on July 12. “We want to make sure he feels good the next time we get him on the mound.”

However, Espada emphasized that Garcia not throwing is “not a setback” at the moment. (Last updated: July 14)

RHP (right forearm surgery)
Expected return:
TBA
The Astros made the decision to “pull back” on McCullers because he was not feeling well after recent throwing sessions. He will not throw for the next few days.

“He’s going to be no-throw for a few days until we sit back down and reevaluate,” manager Joe Espada said on July 9.

McCullers threw a 25-pitch bullpen session June 22, followed by a one-inning simulated game in the bullpen of 10-15 pitches. He's in line to return to competitive baseball somewhere in the 13-15-month window from the surgery he had last June to repair his flexor tendon and remove a bone spur. (Last updated: July 9)

RHP (right elbow surgery)
Expected return: 2025
Ortega on June 26 underwent a second surgery in a span of a few months. He had a bone spur removed, putting him out for the rest of the season. Ortega, who has yet to pitch for the Astros in the regular season, had surgery in March to remove loose bodies in his right elbow. He joined the Astros after being claimed off waivers from the Twins on Oct. 25 and appeared in two Grapefruit League games. (Last updated: June 28)

RHP (right shoulder labral surgery )
Expected return: Maybe September, likely 2025
Graveman, acquired by the Astros for the second time at last year’s Trade Deadline, posted a 2.42 ERA in 23 appearances for Houston in August and September, but he didn’t pitch in the playoffs because of right shoulder discomfort.

Graveman underwent season-ending surgery in January to repair a torn labrum and clean out his rotator cuff. He's started a throwing program with the remote chance to return at the end of the season. (Last updated: June 21)

RHP (right elbow surgery)
Expected return: August
Murfee, claimed off waivers on March 27 from the Braves, has progressed to throwing in the bullpen (no sliders) and hopes to progress to facing hitters soon. He underwent UCL surgery in 2023. (Last updated: June 21)

RHP (Tommy John surgery)
Expected return: 2025
Javier underwent Tommy John surgery on June 6, ending his 2024 season. He was unable to throw a scheduled bullpen session due to right forearm discomfort and was placed on the IL on May 27 for the second time this season. He was previously on the IL from April 21 to May 11 with neck discomfort.

The right-hander was 3-1 with a 3.89 ERA in seven starts with the Astros this year, including three quality starts. Javier was moved to the 60-day IL on June 16. (Last updated: June 16)

RHP (Tommy John surgery)
Expected return: 2025
Urquidy underwent Tommy John surgery on June 5. He was pulled out of his May 24 rehab start at Triple-A after experiencing right forearm inflammation. (Last updated: June 7)

LHP (left shoulder inflammation)
Expected return: 2025
Sousa was headed towards a spot on Houston's Opening Day roster before what he described as an inflamed nerve sent him to the IL to begin the season. Sousa said he experienced some numbness and soreness in his hand and "tried to grind through it."

Sousa underwent surgery for thoracic outlet syndrome on April 3 and was shut down for the season. (Last updated: April 6)