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Player Outlook
Because of ongoing forearm complications, Lance McCullers hasn't pitched at any level since Game 3 of the 2022 World Series, and Astros general manager Dana Brown told reporters this past November that he doesn't expect the 30-year-old right-hander to be back on a major-league mound until July of 2024. McCullers looked like a budding star when he debuted for Houston at age 21 back in 2015, compiling a 3.67 ERA with 509 strikeouts across his first 453.2 big-league innings between that debut date and the end of the 2018 campaign. He had nasty breaking stuff, a mid-90s fastball and strong potential for wins on an always-relevant Astros team. Whenever he does finally return to action, though, it's hard to say which of those elements will remain and what kind of pitcher McCullers will be. Fantasy managers might be in for a frustrating IL-stash experience.

Fantasy Stats

Year fpts
Fantasy Points
fpts/g
Fantasy Points per Game
ip
Innings Pitched
w
Wins
l
Losses
sv
Saves
so
Strikeouts
bb
Base on Balls (Walk)
era
Earned Run Average
whip
Walks and Hits Allowed Per Inning
2024 0.00 0.00
2023 0.00 0.00
2022 13016.3 47.7 4 2 50 22 2.27 1.24
3y Avg. 19015.8 70.0 6 2 78 33 2.96 1.23

Fantasy News

  • Astros' Lance McCullers: Throwing off mound Saturday

    McCullers (forearm) is scheduled to throw 25 warmup pitches Saturday and then sit down to mimic a break between innings before re-taking the mound, Chandler Rome of The Athletic reports. Saturday's session will be McCullers' first up-down since undergoing surgery last June. He's expected to simulate one more up-down before the Astros consider having the right-hander face hitters. McCullers appears to be on track for an August return.
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  • Astros' Lance McCullers: Making progress

    McCullers (forearm) threw 25 pitches off the bullpen mound Thursday, MLB.com reports. McCullers has been ramping up his activity since mid-April, and he managed to throw both sinkers and changeups in addition to his fastball Thursday. He's behind teammate Luis Garcia (elbow) in his recovery, but McCullers could be activated from the injured list at some point in August.
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  • Astros' Lance McCullers: Throws light bullpen session

    McCullers (forearm) threw a 10-pitch bullpen session Saturday, Matt Kawahara of the Houston Chronicle reports. McCullers had previously done some throwing from the front slope of the mound, but Saturday marked his first time throwing from the top of the bump since he had surgery last June to repair the flexor tendon and remove a bone spur from his forearm. It's a big step, but McCullers is still at least a month away from a rehab assignment, with a return from the 60-day injured list perhaps coming in July if all goes well.
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  • Astros' Lance McCullers: Throwing off slope of mound

    McCullers (forearm) has begun throwing off the slope of the mound in recent days, MLB.com reports. McCullers is recovering from surgery to repair his flexor tendon, though his buildup will be significant as he has not appeared in a big-league game since the 2022 postseason. There is no precise timetable for his return to the mound, but it was previously reported that McCullers was hoping to be activated in late June.
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  • Astros' Lance McCullers: Placed on 60-day IL

    The Astros placed McCullers (elbow) on the 60-day injured list Thursday, Brian McTaggart of MLB.com reports. The move clears a spot on the 40-man roster for right-hander Tayler Scott, whose contract was selected from Triple-A Sugar Land. McCullers is expected to be out until late June or early July as he continues his recovery from right elbow surgery.
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  • Astros' Lance McCullers: Targeting late-June return

    McCullers (forearm) said Monday that he's aiming to make his season debut in "late June, early July" Chandler Rome of The Athletic reports. McCullers has been limited to flat-ground throwing during spring training after undergoing surgery June 13 to repair the flexor tendon in his right elbow and remove a bone spur. He noted that his procedure carries an estimated recovery timeline of 13-to-15 months, so his target return date of late June or early July would mark the short end of that timeframe. Whether McCullers will realistically be available at that point in the calendar won't become clear for several more months, as he'll still have multiple checkpoints to hit in his recovery before he's a realistic option for the Houston rotation. The Astros haven't indicated when McCullers might be ready to advance to tossing bullpen sessions, which represents the next phase of his throwing program.
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  • Astros' Lance McCullers: Targeting late-summer return

    McCullers (forearm) said Saturday that he expects to return toward the end of the summer, Chandler Rome of The Athletic reports. McCullers missed all of 2023 while dealing with a right forearm injury and opted to undergo surgery to repair a torn flexor tendon in June. McCullers resumed throwing on flat ground from 80 feet out during the offseason and has yet to run into any issues. The 30-year-old righty still has a long way to go in his rehab process, but he could provide a significant boost to Houston's rotation or give the team another multi-inning relief option late in the season.
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  • Astros' Lance McCullers: Likely out until July of '24

    Astros general manager Dana Brown said Tuesday that McCullers (forearm) might not be ready to pitch again until early July of 2024, Chandler Rome of The Athletic reports. McCullers required surgery this past June to repair a torn right flexor tendon and remove a bone spur from his right forearm. The 30-year-old hasn't appeared in a game at any level since the 2022 World Series and can apparently be ruled out for essentially the entire first half of the 2024 campaign.
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  • Astros' Lance McCullers: Transferred to 60-day IL

    McCullers (forearm) was transferred from the 15-day injured list to the 60-day injured list by the Astros on Saturday, Brian McTaggart of MLB.com reports. McCullers is now officially off the 40-man roster, and the Astros used that room to acquire Joel Kuhnel from the Reds for cash considerations. McCullers is going to miss all of the 2023 season after undergoing a season-ending operation to repair a torn right flexor tendon, but he is expected to be ready for the start of the 2024 campaign.
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  • Astros' Lance McCullers: Undergoes season-ending surgery

    McCullers underwent season-ending surgery Tuesday to repair a torn right flexor tendon and remove a bone spur from his right forearm, Chandler Rome of The Athletic reports. Things had been trending in a bad direction for McCullers following another recent setback, and it turns out that surgery was necessary. The Astros expect McCullers to return to pitch in 2024, though it's not clear when exactly that might happen. McCullers will end up missing his second full season in last four years, as he was out for the entire 2019 campaign while recovering from Tommy John surgery.
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  • Astros' Lance McCullers: Getting MRI on Friday

    McCullers (forearm) will get an MRI on Friday after reporting discomfort, Julia Morales of AT&T SportsNet Southwest reports. McCullers had been on target for a mid-July return before being shut down from throwing off a mound in late May. His new timetable remains unclear, but the Astros are hoping to have a better idea once the imaging results come in early next week. The 29-year-old righty has been shelved all season with a right forearm stain.
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  • Astros' Lance McCullers: No longer throwing off mound

    Astros manager Dusty Baker said Monday that McCullers (forearm) is no longer throwing off a mound, Chandler Rome of The Athletic reports. "We have to take it slow with Lance until we know that he's 100 percent. That's where it is right now," Baker said. McCullers started throwing bullpen sessions in early May, but he wasn't looking overly sharp and was apparently still not feeling totally healthy. The right-hander had been aiming to return from the 15-day injured list around the All-Star break, but his timetable is very much up in the air now.
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  • Astros' Lance McCullers: Aiming for return around mid-July

    General manager Dana Brown said Sunday that McCullers (forearm) isn't expected to return from the injured list until "somewhere closer to the All-Star break, or after," Brian McTaggart of MLB.com reports. The 29-year-old played catch on flat ground Sunday instead of throwing a bullpen session as previously expected, and it appears the Astros don't expect him back from the injured list until sometime in July. Dusty Baker said earlier in the day the change of plans didn't indicate a setback for McCullers, but the lengthy return timeline certainly appears to represent a halt in his progress.
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  • Astros' Lance McCullers: Throws from flat ground Sunday

    Astros manager Dusty Baker told reporters before Sunday's game against the Athletics that McCullers (forearm) played catch on flat ground instead of throwing a bullpen, Brian McTaggart of MLB.com reports. Baker told reporters that even with the change of plans, this should not be considered a setback for McCullers, Danielle Lerner of the Houston Chronicle reports. The right-hander is still in Houston to work out, but he could join the team at some point during their upcoming road trip. McCullers has missed all of 2023 with his forearm strain, and he has a chance to return to the Houston rotation in the early portion of June.
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  • Astros' Lance McCullers: Set for another bullpen session

    McCullers (forearm) is expected to throw a bullpen session before Sunday's contest against the Athletics, Danielle Lerner of the Houston Chronicle reports. McCullers has slowly been working his way back from the forearm injury he suffered in February, and Sunday's session could be his last before launching a rehab assignment. Once healthy, the 29-year-old will be a welcomed addition to Houston's rotation as Luis Garcia (elbow) underwent Tommy John surgery Friday.
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  • Astros' Lance McCullers: Nearing live batting practice

    McCullers (forearm) threw another bullpen session Tuesday and could be cleared for live batting practice this weekend, Chandler Rome of The Athletic reports. McCullers threw 37 pitches in Tuesday's session, touching 92 mph with his fastball and 88-89 mph with his cutter, per Rome. It's the first time during his bullpen ramp-ups that he's incorporated the cutter. McCullers appears to be feeling well but would seem to still have a little work to do from a velocity standpoint. If he does face hitters this weekend, a rehab assignment would seemingly be right around the corner.
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  • Astros' Lance McCullers: Continues bullpen work

    McCullers (forearm) threw another bullpen session Saturday, Danielle Lerner of the Houston Chronicle reports. McCullers has been out all season while working back from a strained forearm. He's thrown multiple bullpen sessions but is not yet at full strength. His velocity sat 89-91 mph in Saturday's session, down significantly from his average of 93.3 mph last year. He's also still only throwing four-seamers, changeups and sinkers, with cutters expected to follow Tuesday and his breaking pitches sometime after that.
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  • Astros' Lance McCullers: Throws another bullpen Tuesday

    McCullers (forearm) threw 25 pitches in a bullpen session Tuesday, Brian McTaggart of MLB.com reports. McCullers reportedly reached 91.6 mph with his fastball during the bullpen session. The next step will be for the right-hander to mix in some breaking balls in his next session, which will likely take place before Saturday's game against the White Sox in Chicago. McCullers will then need to rebuild his arm strength and likely go on a lengthy rehab assignment, but the latest positive developments give him a chance to join the rotation in the early part of June.
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  • Astros' Lance McCullers: Throws bullpen session Saturday

    McCullers (forearm) threw a bullpen session in Seattle on Saturday, reportedly hitting 90 mph twice, Brian McTaggart of MLB.com reports. McCullers has been out since February, as he's been nursing an injured right forearm, so Saturday's session is certainly encouraging. The 29-year-old will continue to slowly ramp up his activity over the next few weeks, including an inevitable rehab assignment, which will likely be multiple starts. That said, once healthy, McCullers will help fill the void left in the Astros' rotation by Luis Garcia's season-ending elbow injury.
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  • Astros' Lance McCullers: Throws from front of mound

    McCullers (forearm) threw 20-to-30 pitches from the front of the bullpen mound at Tropicana Field on Tuesday, Brian Murphy of MLB.com reports. Assuming he bounces back from the workout with no issues, McCullers might be ready for a normal bullpen session the next time he's scheduled to throw. The veteran right-hander has been brought along slowly since his nagging forearm issue flared up on him again back in mid-February. He'll need multiple rehab starts before rejoining the Houston rotation, so McCullers is still several weeks away from being activated from the 15-day injured list.
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