Houston Astros Starter To Miss Beginning Of Season

An early blow to their rotation.

Houston Astros starter Lance McCullers Jr. has been diagnosed with a muscle strain in his right elbow after undergoing an MRI on Tuesday.

The good news is that there is no structural damage to his forearm/elbow, but he will still need to be shut down for at least a few weeks to allow the strain to heal. As a result, McCullers Jr. has announced that he will not be ready to pitch at the start of the regular season and a late April return is considered the best-case scenario.

McCullers Jr. is aiming to reach 150 innings this season, but he will need to avoid any further setbacks to his elbow in addition to other injury concerns in the months to come.

With the loss of Justin Verlander this offseason, the depth of the Astros' rotation will be tested early in the season, but the team has several talented young arms to turn to in McCullers Jr.'s absence.

We should get a better idea of McCuller Jr.'s timeline for return once he resumes throwing and starts facing hitters again, which could happen later in spring training.

The twenty-nine-year-old has compiled a strong 3.16 ERA, 1.21 WHIP, with 291 strikeouts across 265 innings and 47 starts over the last three seasons. Photo Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports