John Lackey suffers biceps strain in first start back from Tommy John surgery

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UPDATE: Ian Browne of MLB.com reports that Lackey will fly back to Boston tomorrow for an MRI.

3:25 PM: Sean McAdam of CSNNE.com reports that Lackey left the game with a right biceps strain. Of course, that’s just the initial diagnosis and it doesn’t tell us much. We should know more soon.

3:00 PM: John Lackey was back in action in a regular season game today for the first time since Tommy John surgery in November of 2011. Unfortunately he didn’t last long.

According to Rob Bradford of WEEI.com, Lackey left today’s start against the Blue Jays in the bottom of the fifth inning with an apparent injury to his right arm. It didn’t look good. Lackey immediately grabbed at his biceps area after throwing an arrant pitch with Jose Reyes at the plate. Replays showed that he may have felt some discomfort on the previous pitch, but that one extra pitch is what did him in.

It’s a real shame, as Lackey was pitching really well in his return to major league action. He gave up two runs (a two-run homer by J.P. Arencibia) over 4 1/3 innings while striking out eight and walking just one.

Report: Astros offer one-year contract to Charlie Morton

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The Astros have made a contract offer of one year with an option to free agent pitcher Charlie Morton, Bob Nightengale of USA TODAY Sports reports. The amount of the contract offer is not known, but would likely be less than the $17.9 million qualifying offer the Astros failed to make to him.

Morton, 35, had the best season of his career in 2018, going 15-3 with a 3.13 ERA and a 201/64 K/BB ratio in 167 innings. It is likely the peak in what has been a late-career reinvention that started at the end of his tenure in Pittsburgh, persisted through an injury-shortened stint with the Phillies, and continued over the last two years with the Astros. Morton’s delivery, which famously mimics that of the late Roy Halladay, has seen his strikeout rate rise from middling to elite rates while his fastball velocity climbed from the low-90’s to the mid-90’s.

Despite Morton’s reinvention, he is likely going to have to settle for short-term deals due to his age and durability issues. 2018 was the first time in his career he crossed the 30-start threshold.