HOUSTON – Houston right-hander Lance McCullers Jr. sustained a small cut to his throwing elbow after being hit with a bottle during the team’s celebration after winning the AL Division Series.
“Unfortunately, after the victory in Seattle, I caught a spare champagne bottle to the elbow bone,” McCullers said.
He’s OK but had some swelling after the incident so the team chose to give him an extra day to rest.
Up 2-0 in the best-of-seven American League Championship Series, Houston will start Cristian Javier in Game 3 at the New York Yankees on Saturday and McCullers will start Game 4 Sunday night.
“It was really no one’s fault,” McCullers said. “It was just an accident. So, it’s not a huge deal.”
McCullers said he threw a bullpen of 35 pitches Friday and was feeling good and would have no limitations in his start Sunday.
He was asked exactly how the injury occurred.
“Some guy was kind of coming back behind me and the bottle just happened to kind of hit the back inside a part of my elbow as the people were passing by,” McCullers said. “It wasn’t like we were getting wild. I was standing there. He was walking by, just happened to hit me in the right spot.”
He isn’t the first pitcher to be injured celebrating this season after Phillies reliever David Robertson missed the NLDS after straining his calf jumping to celebrate a home run by Bryce Harper in the Wild Card round.
Javier pitched 1 1/3 innings of relief in Houston’s 8-7 Game 1 win in the ALDS but hasn’t started since an Oct. 1 win over Tampa Bay.
The 25-year-old started and struck out 13 in seven innings of a combined no-hitter in a 3-0 win at Yankee Stadium on June 25. Gerrit Cole, who will start for New York on Saturday, took the loss in that game.
McCullers started Houston’s marathon 18-inning win over Seattle in Game 3 of the Division Series that completed a sweep of the Mariners. He allowed two hits and struck out seven in six scoreless innings of the 1-0 victory before being injured as the Astros celebrated clinching their sixth straight trip to the ALCS.
McCullers ended Game 7 of the 2017 ALCS by throwing 24 consecutive curveballs to retire the Yankees’ final five batters in order.