Astros shut down Lance McCullers Jr. for 2023 due to forearm injury sustained in 2021 playoff run

The 29-year-old is in the second year of a five-year, $85 million deal with Houston.

ByMatt Guillermo KTRK logo
Wednesday, June 14, 2023
Astros' McCullers, due $16M this season, out for rest of 2023
Astros starting pitcher Lance McCullers Jr. will not be pitching in 2023, the club announced.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Lance McCullers Jr., who's due nearly $16 million this season and $17.7 million each of the next three seasons, will not pitch for the Houston Astros in 2023.

The ballclub announced the 29-year-old right-handed pitcher will miss the rest of the season after undergoing right forearm surgery to repair a flexor tendon and remove a bone spur.

According to the Astros, the injury originally came from his start in Game 4 of the 2021 American League Division Series, which saw him leave after four innings pitched in the series-clincher.

The 'Stros went on to disclose that the flexor tendon was aggravated while he threw a bullpen session during spring training ahead of 2023. He has not seen any action this season, though, he was spotted rehabilitating at times. He last pitched in a Game 3 loss against Philadelphia in the 2022 World Series, where he dinged up for five home runs and seven earned runs.

"After the injury in February, Lance worked his tail off to get back on the mound," Astros general manager Dana Brown said. "This guy is a warrior and did everything in his power to get back. But each time he built himself up to an increased pitch total off the mound, the pain would come back."

Brown and the team expects McCullers to return during the 2024 season.

The procedure marks another obstacle in the pitcher's career. McCullers missed the 2019 season following Tommy John surgery.

He had signed an $85 million, five-year contract before the 2021 season.

The Astros (38-29, 2nd in AL West) also face another blow to its starting pitching rotation during a World Series title defense. Luis Garcia was lost for 2023 after Tommy John surgery, and Jose Urquidy remains sidelined since April 30.

Houston is working with a rotation currently consisting of ace Framber Valdez, No. 2 starter Cristian Javier, Hunter Brown, rookie JP France, and call-up Brandon Bielak.