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When will Lance McCullers Jr. return to Astros rotation this season?

We’ve got the latest injury updates for Lance McCullers Jr. and when he’ll return in 2022.

Lance McCullers Jr. #43 of the Houston Astros poses for a photo during the Houston Astros Photo Day at The Ballpark of the Palm Beaches complex on Wednesday, March 16, 2022 in West Palm Beach, Florida. Photo by Adam Glanzman/MLB Photos via Getty Images

Houston Astros starting pitcher Lance McCullers Jr. has been rehabbing a forearm injury and hasn’t pitched this season. He arguably had the best season of his career in 2021 with the lowest ERA and most wins of his six-year career. McCullers did miss the entire 20219 season and has missed the first two months of the 2022 with forearm injuries.

On Friday, June 3, McCullers was reported to have thrown 20 pitches off a mound which his velocity reaching up to about 87 mph. The good news is that he didn’t have any discomfort or setbacks. The bad news is that he maxed out in the upper 80s. McCullers not only needs to get back to pitching form, but also needs to see his velocity get back up to 95 mph+ to compete for a spot in the Houston rotation. It is just a guess at the moment, but the latest news has an ETA for McCullers back to the majors by the All-Star break.

Lance McCullers Jr. injury update

The Astros haven’t missed McCullers in the rotation this season. They sit in first place in the AL West at 36-20. Houston’s rotation features Justin Verlander, Framber Valdez, Luis Garcia, and Cristian Javier while the fifth starter has either rotated or been a bullpen day.

Whenever the Astros activate McCullers, they will need to make a corresponding move for their roster. If they send a player down it will likely be someone in the bullpen. Javier is typically a relief pitcher and so McCullers could slide into the rotation while Javier goes back to the pen.