Astros lose Cristian Javier and José Urquidy to season-ending elbow surgery in latest blow to rotation


The Houston Astros have lost two more starting pitchers to a significant elbow injury. Right-handers Cristian Javier and José Urquidy are both set to undergo season-ending elbow surgery, the team announced Wednesday morning. Tommy John surgery typically comes with a 14-18 month rehab, while the internal brace takes slightly less time to return, but regardless, both are out until the 2025 season.

The Astros were already without Luis Garcia, who had Tommy John surgery last May, and Lance McCullers Jr. McCullers had flexor surgery last June. Houston’s rotation depth chart looks like this at the moment:

  1. RHP Justin Verlander
  2. LHP Framber Valdez
  3. RHP Cristian Javier (out with elbow surgery)
  4. RHP Lance McCullers Jr. (rehabbing from flexor surgery)
  5. RHP José Urquidy (out with elbow surgery)
  6. RHP Luis Garcia (out with Tommy John surgery)
  7. RHP Ronel Blanco
  8. RHP Hunter Brown
  9. RHP J.P. France (on Triple-A injured list with shoulder issue)
  10. RHP Spencer Arrighetti

Verlander began the season on the injured list with a shoulder issue and Valdez missed a few weeks with an elbow problem earlier this year. It’s been a nonstop barrage of injuries for Houston’s rotation really since last season. As a result, Astros starters come into play Tuesday with a 4.73 ERA, fifth worst in baseball. Their starters are dead last with 1.9 WAR.

Javier, 27, was brilliant during Houston’s run to the 2022 World Series title, including starting a combined no-hitter in Game 4 of the Fall Classic. The last two seasons have been challenging though. Javier’s thrown 196 2/3 innings with a 4.44 ERA and a significant decline in strikeout rate since Opening Day 2023. He had several nagging injuries before his elbow gave out.

As for Urquidy, the 29-year-old had Tommy John surgery in 2017, and the second elbow reconstruction carries more risk than the first. He has not pitched this season — Urquidy’s elbow injury popped up in spring training — and various injuries limited him to 334 1/3 innings from 2021-23.

The Astros enter play Wednesday with a 28-34 record, though they are 15-10 in their last 25 games, so they are trending up. GM Dana Brown said the team would be buyers at the trade deadline earlier this week. A starting pitcher figures to be at the top of the shopping list even with Garcia and McCullers possibly returning later this summer.





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