Mark Mulder received some sad news yesterday when tests revealed that he suffered a ruptured Achilles tendon while doing agility drills prior to a bullpen session. The left-hander was well on his way to pitching again in the Majors after a five-year layoff due to persistent shoulder problems, but he now yet more adversity to deal with.
Mulder, 36, isn’t ruling out another comeback attempt, but he also isn’t exactly guaranteeing one, either. Via Alden Gonzalez of MLB.com:
Mulder didn’t necessarily rule out a return, though. He’ll know a lot more when he meets with the doctor who will perform his surgery on Monday. But rehab will be somewhere between five and eight months, which means the earliest he can come back is 2015.
Asked if he’d like to pitch again, the 36-year-old left-hander said: “I’d love to say yes, but I don’t know. I have to wait and see what the doctors say — see what the process is of how healthy I can get it, how good it feels.”
Many across baseball expressed sympathy for Mulder, including manager Mike Scioscia and former Athletics teammate Tim Hudson. Scioscia said, “This guy worked so hard. He was legitimately throwing the ball close to where he was in his prime.” Hudson said he was “sick to my stomach” (via Andrew Baggarly of CSN Bay Area).
No surprise here: The Astros are headed back to the postseason to defend their title following a landslide 11-3 win over the Angels on Friday. This figures to be their third playoff run since 2015, though they have yet to wrap up the AL West with a division title.
First baseman Yuli Gurriel led the charge on Friday, smashing a grand slam in the first inning and tacking on a two-run homer in the second and RBI single in the fifth to help the Astros to a seven-run lead. The Angels eventually returned fire, first with Mike Trout‘s 418-foot homer in the sixth, then with an RBI hit from Francisco Arcia in the seventh, but they couldn’t close the gap in time to overtake the Astros.
On the mound, right-hander Gerrit Cole clinched his 15th win of the year after holding the Angels to seven innings of three-run, 12-strikeout ball. His sixth strikeout of the night — delivered on an 83.1-MPH knuckle curveball to Kaleb Cowart — also marked the 1,000th strikeout of his career to date. He was backed by flawless performances by lefty reliever Tony Sipp and rookie right-hander Dean Deetz, both of whom turned in scoreless innings as the offense barreled toward an 11-3 finish with Jake Marisnick‘s sac bunt and George Springer‘s three-run shot in the eighth.
Despite having qualified for the playoffs, the Astros still carry a magic number of 6 as they look to clinch a third straight division title. They’re currently up against the Athletics, who entered Friday’s contest against the Twins just four games back of first place in the AL West.