Baker says McCullers' sore arm 'is to be expected'

February 17th, 2023

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. -- Astros manager Dusty Baker said Friday that starter experienced some soreness in his right arm following his Tuesday bullpen session. McCullers hasn’t been on the field for the first two official workout days of the spring on Thursday and Friday, but he is at camp­­­­.

“He was a little sore, which is to be expected,” Baker said upon his arrival to camp at The Ballpark of the Palm Beaches. “We’ll have to see. We’ve got to chill. Don’t make something. You asked me.”

Baker cautioned the media about sounding alarm bells over McCullers, who returned late last season from a strained right forearm injury and made eight starts in the regular season and three more in the playoffs. He gave up five home runs in his final start of the season, a 7-0 loss to the Phillies in Game 3 of the World Series.

When asked specifically what part of his arm was sore, Baker said: “Same thing.”

McCullers went 4-2 with a 2.27 ERA in eight starts, beginning in August. He spent most of last year rehabbing from a right flexor pronator strain suffered in Game 4 of the 2021 American League Division Series against the White Sox. McCullers, who signed a five-year, $85 million contract extension in March 2021 after missing the '20 season following Tommy John surgery, went 13-5 with a 3.16 ERA in 28 starts in ’21.

McCullers is expected to anchor the Astros' rotation this year, along with Framber Valdez and Cristian Javier, following the loss of Justin Verlander in free agency to the Mets.