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McCullers (neck) to IL; Reddick day to day

@brianmctaggart
September 6, 2020

The Astros’ injury-depleted pitching staff suffered another major blow on Sunday when the club announced right-handed starter Lance McCullers Jr. was headed to the 10-day injured list with a neck nerve irritation. Lefty Cionel Pérez was recalled from the taxi squad. “I think he’s going to go back [to Houston]

The Astros’ injury-depleted pitching staff suffered another major blow on Sunday when the club announced right-handed starter Lance McCullers Jr. was headed to the 10-day injured list with a neck nerve irritation. Lefty Cionel Pérez was recalled from the taxi squad.

“I think he’s going to go back [to Houston] to get analyzed and see if we can get to the root of the problem,” Astros manager Dusty Baker said.

McCullers is coming off a start Friday in Anaheim in which he didn’t record an out while facing five hitters, giving up three runs on two hits and three walks. After the game, McCullers insisted he wasn’t injured and was “dealing with a weird period” after missing all of last season following Tommy John surgery. McCullers said he had a hard time feeling the baseball Friday.

“It’s a little disheartening,” he said Friday. “To feel good throughout the week coming off a really good start and feeling like you’re starting to catch your groove, and I just had a tough time the last few days. It’s not something that’s going to last forever. It’s part of coming back from TJ. I know it may be difficult to understand from the outside or even if you haven't dealt with this before.”

While it’s unknown how long McCullers will be out, it’s another setback to an already thin pitching rotation. The Astros lost ace starter Justin Verlander after just one start with a right forearm strain and just got Jose Urquidy back Saturday after he missed most of the season following a bout with coronavirus. The club will have to scramble to fill innings during a stretch in which they’re playing nine games in seven days.

McCullers, who had Tommy John surgery following the 2018 season, returned the mound on July 25 and threw six innings to beat the Mariners. He’s been up and down since, going 3-2 with a 5.79 ERA in eight starts. He’s 3-0 with a 1.82 ERA in four starts at home and 0-2 with a 13.50 ERA in four starts on the road.

Verlander, meanwhile, has progressed to the point he’s throwing off the mound, Astros general manager James Click said Sunday during his pregame radio segment on 790 AM in Houston. There’s a shot Verlander could return by the end of the season.

Reddick day to day
Astros outfielder Josh Reddick is day to day after sustaining a right elbow contusion when he crashed into the wall in the sixth inning on Sunday trying to track down a Taylor Ward fly ball. Baker said Reddick would be evaluated further on Monday.

“I’ll leave that spot in the lineup open until further word from the trainers,” he said. “You know he wants to play against the A’s and I’m sure he’ll do everything in his power to make it on the field tomorrow.”

Brian McTaggart has covered the Astros since 2004, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter.