Astros back to 6-man pitching rotation with Lance McCullers Jr. returning vs. Oakland

A forearm injury kept the former All-Star out of the rest of Houston's 2021 World Series run and much of the 2022 season.

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Wednesday, August 10, 2022
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It was a big surprise: Pitcher Lance McCullers Jr. pulled in Game 4 of the ALDS versus the Chicago White Sox. But now, we're learning more about why. Here's how the squad made it through to advance to the AL Championship Series.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- "He's baaaaack," the Astros tweeted Wednesday, along with a pair of eyes emoji.

What return is big enough to command a misspelling of the word "back"? That distinction belongs to Lance McCullers Jr., the Houston right-hander who spent much of the 2022 season to this point rehabilitating from a serious forearm injury.

The ballclub's acting manager, Joe Espada, confirmed McCullers' insertion in a six-pitcher rotation, beginning with his season debut this weekend against the Oakland Athletics.

The video above is from an October 2021 report on the McCullers iinjury.

"LMJ's back, tell a friend. See y'all Saturday," the 'Stros tweeted.

The Astros, who enter Wednesday's game vs. the Rangers tied for the best record in the American League, get back a proven arm who will serve as a security blanket down the stretch.

The last time McCullers pitched for Houston was on Oct. 12, 2021, when he pitched four innings in the Astros' AL Division Series clincher.

Since then, McCullers had to miss the rest of Houston's World Series run with a forearm injury sustained in that game. He started 2022 on the injured list.

No. 43 threw in rehabilitation starts in Corpus Christi and Sugar Land to gear up for his return. Before the forearm ailment, McCullers required Tommy John surgery for his right elbow, which sidelined him for the entire 2019 season.

Before McCullers' impending return, Houston briefly turned to a five-man rotation after trading starter Jake Odorizzi.

The rotation order from Wednesday on will be Justin Verlander, Framber Valdez, Luis Garcia, McCullers, Cristian Javier, and Jose Urquidy.