The Astros came closer Ryan Pressly on the 15-day injured list this afternoon, retroactive to August 22, with neck cramps. Right Seth Martinez was recalled to fill the vacant spot on the active roster. Pressly has been unavailable for stiffness in his neck for the past few games, and the problem is apparently severe enough to take him out of action for at least a few weeks. The club has not given a more specific timetable for his return.
Pressly has excelled again this season and continues as one of the sport’s top late-game relievers. For 37 2/3 innings on the year, the righthander holds a 3.11 ERA with an excellent strikeout rate of 32.2% and only a 6.3% walk rate. His 44.2% ground ball percentage is the lowest figure in his four full seasons in Houston, but the two-time All-Star has more than made up for that with elite swing-and-miss stuff. He has caught a whiff on 17.1% of his pitches, the 13th highest percentage among 214 relievers with 30+ innings pitched.
More from Houston:
- Justin Verlander chatted with the Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal earlier this week and discussed his progression back from the Tommy John surgery that virtually wiped out all of his 2020-21 seasons. The future Hall of Famer has put himself firmly in the conversation for a third Cy Young career award, with an MLB-best 1.87 ERA over 23 starts. Verlander hasn’t looked at his lack of innings in the previous two seasons, as he has taken 149 frames (the 12th most in MLB). He has already crossed the 130-innings threshold to get a player option in his deal that could keep him in Houston for $25 million next season. However, with how well he has performed, he almost certainly seems to be waiving that stipulation and re-testing the open market looking for an annual salary near or above the $43,333MM former teammate. Max Scherzer landed off the Mets last offseason. Verlander noted that he cannot make a formal decision on the option until after watching him wrap up the season, but unsurprisingly he tells Rosenthal that “if things stay as they are and knock on wood, everything goes the way i think everyone would hope, then i would probably choose it. I threw pretty damn well.“
- There’s been a bit of a stir alongside Verlander in the starting staff, as skipper Dusty Baker told reporters the club will move from the six-man rotation they’ve deployed so far to a five-man staff (via Danielle Lerner of the Houston Chronicle). Right Cristian Javier will be an odd one out, at least temporarily. Baker indicated that the team would skip the 25-year-old’s scheduled start this weekend, with Javier available from the bullpen instead. It’s not out of the question that they’ll eventually return to the six-man staff, but with days off scheduled for next Monday and Thursday, there’s room for the club to consolidate rotation for the time being. Javier’s return to the bullpen is by no means an indictment of his performance. Through 112 1/3 frames, he owns a sterling 2.88 ERA with a strikeout rate of 32.4%. Still with a top five of Verlander, Lance McCullers Jr., Framber Valdez, Luis Garcia and Jose Urquidy, the Astros have an enviable depth (although Garcia has been struggling lately). Javier’s willingness to work as a multi-inning relief weapon could predict his potential role in the post season as he has much more recent bullpen experience than any of the other top staff rotation options.