Houston Astros manager Dusty Baker offered a disappointing injury update on the status of pitcher Lance McCullers ahead of MLB Opening Day.
It’s been a relatively quiet offseason for Astros pitcher Lance McCullers, who has spent the winter months rehabbing a flexor strain suffered during the 2021 ALDS series last October.
While McCullers made a point to call out MLB ownership during the lockout, no developments have emerged concerning his injury. That continues to be the case, as Astros manager Dusty Baker revealed that McCullers is “behind schedule and won’t start the season on time.”
Dusty Baker said Lance McCullers is behind schedule and won’t start the season on time.
— Jake Kaplan (@jakemkaplan) March 14, 2022
Astros: Dusty Baker reveals Lance McCullers is behind schedule on return
In a recent interview, McCullers spoke about how his injury rehab was progressing and how it was frustrating to delay his return.
Dusty just confirms what Lance told me himself a few weeks ago (FEB 21):
“I’m behind in my rehab, if I had to guess, I don’t know if I’ll be ready for opening day” He also mentioned the rehab has been “choppy”. Here’s the interview: https://t.co/qtMvPgfEWu pic.twitter.com/Y1FQubJDeR
— Maanav Gupta (@MGSportsTalk) March 14, 2022
“I’m behind in my rehab,” McCullers said. “If I had to guess, I don’t know if I’ll be ready Opening Day. It’s frustrating for me because ultimately, I’m the one who suffers, and the fans are the ones who suffer while we argue away. I’m a little bit frustrated with the process.”
Of course, McCullers was referring to the lockout at that time, which was also delaying Opening Day and his ability to play. But with the season back on, it’s now on McCullers to heal quickly and return as soon as possible. Baker remains optimistic that McCullers will be available to pitch this season.
Lance McCullers Jr. will not start the season on time, manager Dusty Baker said. He had a “setback or two” this winter while rehabbing. Baker is optimistic McCullers will pitch for the Astros this season.
— Chandler Rome (@Chandler_Rome) March 14, 2022
What was initially believed to be a 6-8 week recovery timetable has now spanned nearly six months, and in December, it was believed that McCullers was “a month away” from a full recovery.
Unlike other injuries with clearer recovery timetables, there is no clear timeline for a flexor strains. “It’s impossible to predict how long any given player might take to recover,” explains Dr. Robert Najarian. “It depends on the player and the severity of the strain.”
Instead of hosting MLB Opening Day on March 31 as originally planned, the season will kick off on April 7th. On the 7th, the Astros are scheduled to play the Los Angeles Angels in Anaheim.