Jesse Crain’s last two years have been a bumpy ride. As a reliever with the White Sox, Crain landed on the 60-day disabled list in early July last season with a strained right shoulder. Despite the injury, the Rays decided to gamble and traded for him in late July, hoping he’d be able to make a return and help the team for a playoff push in September. It never materialized.
Crain became a free agent, underwent shoulder surgery in October, and eventually signed with the Astros on a one-year, $3.25 million deal. The Astros were making a similar gamble as the Rays, hopeful that Crain would be healthy enough to contribute at some point during the season.
Crain strained his calf early in spring training, adding insult to literal injury. And now there’s even more. As Jose de Jesus Ortiz of the Houston Chronicle reports, Crain has developed bursitis in his right shoulder. Bursitis is the inflammation of the bursae sacs of synovial fluid. They sit where muscle and tendons slide across the bone, allowing for movement without friction. As a result of the latest developments, GM Jeff Luhnow scrapped Crain’s most recent timetable of early May, and did not offer an updated timetable.
The Astros could have certainly used the help. They enter Friday night’s action with the fourth-worst bullpen ERA in baseball at 5.45, behind only the Tigers, Phillies, and White Sox. In the 36 2/3 innings Crain pitched leading up to his initial injury last season, Crain had a 0.74 ERA along with 46 strikeouts and 10 unintentional walks. The 32-year-old has a career 3.05 ERA over 532 innings.
The Rockies placed Carlos Gonzalez on the 10-day disabled list with a right hamstring strain, per an announcement on Sunday. The move is retroactive to April 19, the day after Gonzalez sustained the injury on a phenomenal diving catch during the Rockies’ 10-2 loss to the Pirates. In corresponding moves, outfielder Mike Tauchman was optioned to Triple-A Albuquerque, while corner outfielders David Dahl and Noel Cuevas were recalled from the minors.
Gonzalez, 32, got off to an underwhelming start this spring. The veteran outfielder exited Wednesday’s game batting a modest .235/.264/.426 with three home runs and two stolen bases in his first 72 plate appearances of the 2018 season. Despite sustaining a plethora of minor injuries over the last few years, this looks to be his first serious setback since undergoing knee surgery back in 2014.
It’s still unclear how long he’ll be sidelined, though club manager Bud Black said Gonzalez appeared to be recovering well prior to the decision on Sunday. “I think probably the thing that put us over the top was with [Gerardo] Parra’s suspension starting today and CarGo not 100 percent,” he told reporters, adding that while Gonzalez seemed capable of pinch-hitting, he would not have been able to run the bases.
In the meantime, Cuevas figures to make his major-league debut sometime over the next week. The 26-year-old outfielder is in his ninth minor league season, and left Albuquerque with a .333/.419/.571 batting line and eight extra-base hits though his first 74 PA. Dahl, 24, could also see his first major-league assignment since 2016, when he slashed .315/.359/.500 with seven home runs and five stolen bases in 63 games with the Rockies.