The Astros placed closer Ryan Pressly on the 15-day injured list this afternoon, retroactive to Aug. 22, with neck spasms. That’s right Seth Martinez was recalled to take the vacant active roster spot. Pressly has been unavailable for the past two games dealing with stiffness in his neck, and the issue is apparently severe enough that it will sideline him for at least a few weeks. The club did not provide a more specific schedule during his return.
Pressly has excelled again this season, continuing as one of the sport’s best late-game relievers. Through 37 2/3 innings on the year, the righty owns a 3.11 ERA with an excellent 32.2% strikeout rate and just a 6.3% walk rate. His 44.2% groundball rate is the lowest mark in his four full seasons in Houston, but the two-time All-Star has more than made up for it with elite swing-and-misses. He got a whiff on 17.1% of his pitches, the 13th highest rate among 214 relievers with 30+ innings pitched.
More from Houston:
- Justin Verlander chatted with Ken Rosenthal of the Athletics earlier this week, discussing his progress from the Tommy John surgery that took out nearly all of his 2020-21 season. The future Hall of Famer has put himself firmly in the conversation for a third career Cy Young award, posting an MLB-best 1.87 ERA over 23 starts. Verlander didn’t look fazed at all by his lack of innings over the previous two seasons, as he soaked up 149 frames (12th most in MLB). He already is surpassed the 130-inning threshold to include a player option in his deal that could keep him in Houston for $25MM next season. With how well he’s performed, though, he seems almost certain to waive that provision and retest the open market in search of an annual salary near or above the $43.333MM former teammate. Max Scherzer landed from the Mets last offseason. Verlander noted that he won’t be able to make a formal decision on the option until after he sees how he finishes the season, but he unsurprisingly tells Rosenthal that “if things keep going the way they are and knock on wood, everything goes the way I think everyone would hope, then I’d probably opt out. I was pitching pretty well.“
- There’s a bit of a shakeup along with Verlander in the starting staff, as manager Dusty Baker told reporters that the club will be moving from the six-man rotation they’ve deployed to a five-man staff currently (via Danielle Lerner of the Houston Chronicle). That’s right Christian Xavier will be the odd man out, at least for the time being. Baker indicated the team would skip the 25-year-old’s planned start this weekend, with Javier available from the bullpen instead. It is not out of the question that they will eventually return to the six-man staff, but with off days scheduled for next Monday and Thursday, there is room for the club to consolidate the rotation for the time being. Javier’s return to the bullpen is certainly not an indictment of his effectiveness. Through 112 1/3 frames, he owns a sterling 2.88 ERA with a 32.4% strikeout rate. However, with Verlander’s top five, Lance McCullers Jr., Framber Valdez, Luis Garcia and Jose Urquidy, the Astros have enviable depth (although Garcia has struggled recently). Javier’s willingness to work as a multi-inning relief weapon as needed could foreshadow his potential role in the postseason, as he has far more recent bullpen experience than any of the other top rotation options on staff.