Astros optimistic Cole will miss only one turn

August 16th, 2019

OAKLAND -- Astros right-hander , who was scratched from his scheduled start Tuesday while warming up before the second game of a doubleheader against the White Sox with right hamstring discomfort, is expected to return to the rotation next week against the Tigers.

Cole said Wednesday night the injury wasn’t “super serious” after having imagining done on his leg and talking with team doctors, so it appears he’ll miss only one start. As Cole was warming up in the bullpen Tuesday at Chicago, the hamstring “kept grabbing,” he said. started in his place.

“He’s going to rest for the next couple of days,” Astros manager AJ Hinch said Thursday. “He may do a little throwing while we’re here in Oakland and then gear towards a bullpen eventually. A lot of therapy, a lot of conversation, a lot of just making sure that he doesn’t do anything to irritate his hammy, and get him back on the hill eventually.”

Cole, the American League Pitcher of the Month for June and July, is a strong candidate for the AL Cy Young Award this year. He is 14-5 with a 2.87 ERA in 25 starts and leads the Major Leagues with 226 strikeouts. Cole is 10-0 with a 1.98 ERA with 22 walks and 126 strikeouts in his last 14 starts.

Meanwhile, the Astros still haven’t named a starter for Saturday at Oakland. That spot in the rotation came open when was pushed back a day and had to start the first game of the doubleheader Tuesday after a rainout Monday at Chicago.

Hinch said the Astros will have to decide by Friday who will start -- likely either Triple-A right-hander or left-hander -- so they have time to get either pitcher to Oakland. With Cole set to take his next turn in the rotation, the Astros will have to plug in a starter only on Saturday.

“We’ve also tossed around the idea of a bullpen-type day,” Hinch said. “We have [fresh reliever] up here, and depending on how these next couple of games go, we could go that route. The good news is, is that we feel it’s going to be a one-start situation if Gerrit mends as well as we think he’s going to and could make the next turn in the rotation in the Detroit series.

“A lot has to happen to between now and then, but coming out of the doubleheader plus the unique day [Wednesday] with the bullpen usage, we’re a little thin in the bullpen going into this series and we may or not want to extend that in the Saturday game.”