Houston Astros Starting Pitcher To Have Season-Ending Surgery: Report

The Houston Astros quest to remain relevant in the American League standings went from the frying pan into the fire Tuesday.

Adding to a laundry list of devastating injuries, Astros pitcher Cristian Javier will undergo Tommy John surgery on Thursday, ending his season, according to The Athletic.

Javier will become the fourth Astros starting pitcher either nursing an injury to his pitching elbow or forearm, or on the recovery trail from elbow surgery.

Monday, it was reported that right-handed pitcher José Urquidy could be headed for Tommy John surgery himself. Urquidy, who’s been dealing with forearm discomfort since getting hurt in spring training, was scheduled to meet with Dr. Keith Meister soon, with the expectation that he will recommend Tommy John surgery.

Javier, 27, is 3-1 this season with a 3.89 ERA in seven starts. The Athletic reported that Meister recommended surgery to him.

Houston Astros Cristian Javier
HOUSTON, TEXAS – MAY 16: Cristian Javier #53 of the Houston Astros looks on after pitching in the first inning against the Oakland Athletics at Minute Maid Park on May 16, 2024 in Houston, Texas….

Logan Riely/Getty Images

The Astros signed Javier to a five-year, $64 million contract extension that will keep him in Houston through the 2027 season.

Entering this season Javier was 30-17 with a 3.57 ERA in 109 games (75 starts) with the Astros from 2020-23. Javier proved his mettle in the postseason for an Astros team that has reached the American League Championship Series every year of his career. In 17 postseason games (five starts), Javier is 6-2 with a 2.68 ERA. He has struck out 60 batters in 48 October innings.

Last year, Javier went 1-1 in his only two ALCS appearances against the eventual champion Texas Rangers. He recorded only one out in a Game 7 appearance while allowing three runs.

Still, the Astros were counting on a big rebound from Javier in 2024. They began the season without veterans Lance McCullers and Justin Verlander in their rotation, as each was recovering from an injury himself.

Now Houston will attempt to forge on without McCullers — who still hasn’t returned — as well as Javier and possibly Urquidy as well. The team has struggled as much as expected under the circumstances, taking a 27-34 record into Tuesday’s game against the St. Louis Cardinals.

Monday, Astros general manager Dana Brown pointedly said “I don’t see any scenario where we’re sellers” leading into the July 30 trade deadline.

“I think we’re going to be buyers,” Brown said before the series opener against the Cardinals.

If that’s indeed the case, the Astros ought to start their buying with starting pitching. A rotation led by Verlander, Framber Valdez and Hunter Brown has a 4.26 ERA, 21st in Major League Baseball through Monday.

Certainly Brown won’t be alone in his need for pitching. And the Astros’ needs might be so acute by the time July rolls around, selling might be the more prudent decision. If so, it would represent a massive change in direction for a franchise that has been the best in the American League for the better part of a decade.