MLB: Astros, with additional ailment in rotation, face Mariners again

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The Houston Astros’ ailing starting rotation has taken another hit.

Right-hander Cristian Javier, who was scheduled to start Tuesday night’s game against the host Seattle Mariners, instead was placed on the 15-day injured list with what manager Joe Espada called “right forearm discomfort.”

Javier (3-1, 3.89 ERA) was unable to throw a scheduled bullpen session Sunday. Espada said Javier, who previously missed three weeks because of a neck ailment, was expected to undergo an MRI on Tuesday.

The Astros are still without starter Jose Urquidy, who strained his forearm late in spring training and has yet to pitch this season. Urquidy aggravated the injury in a rehab start for Triple-A Sugar Land on Friday and will be re-evaluated Tuesday.

The Astros did get a boost Monday from the return of first baseman Jose Abreu after nearly a month of working on his swing at the team’s spring training complex in West Palm Beach, Fla.

Abreu, 37, the 2020 American League MVP while with the Chicago White Sox, was batting .099 with one extra-base hit and three RBIs when he was sent to the minors for the first time in his career.

He went 1-for-3 Monday, lining a run-scoring single into right-center field in the fifth inning of the Astros’ 3-2 loss in the opener of a four-game series against the American League West-leading Mariners.

“He just looks better, but for me it was more how mentally fresh he looks,” Espada said of Abreu. “He just seems to be in a much better place and seems happy, and he’s excited to be back with the club and his teammates. We’re all excited to have him back.”

Abreu said he tried to simplify his approach.

“I just need to get my hands to where they need to be so I can be in the best position to strike the ball,” Abreu said before Monday’s game. “I don’t think we need to overcomplicate things.”

The Mariners scored all three of their runs in the first inning off Framber Valdez, and Seattle starter and winner Bryce Miller and the bullpen made the lead stand up.

“We had all kinds of traffic, and we had some good at-bats when we did have traffic out there. Unfortunately, sometimes the ball doesn’t land on the grass like you want it to,” Mariners manager Scott Servais said.

Miller had lost his previous four decisions. The victory was his first since April 17 vs. the Cincinnati Reds.

“For me (it’s) just trying to make sure I’m still getting ahead, but with certain hitters in the lineup not making a mistake just trying to get ahead,” Miller said. “Being aggressive on the corner early and then working off of that.”

Because the Astros had a day off last Thursday, right-hander Hunter Brown (1-5, 7.06 ERA) will work on normal rest Tuesday.

Brown didn’t get a decision in a 5-4 loss to visiting Seattle on May 5, when he allowed two runs on five hits in 4 1/3 innings. He walked four and struck out five. Brown is 0-2 with an 11.70 ERA in three career starts against the Mariners.

The Mariners are set to send ace Luis Castillo (4-6, 3.31) to the mound on Tuesday. Castillo, a right-hander, is 2-1 with a 3.81 ERA in four career starts against Houston.

–Field Level Media

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