The Houston Astros scratched right-handed pitcher Gerrit Cole before his scheduled start on Tuesday. Cole, who was supposed to take on the Chicago White Sox in the second game of a day-night doubleheader, seemed to have difficulty getting loose in the bullpen before heading to Houston’s clubhouse before the start of the game. Julia Morales, the Astros’ on-the-field reporter, tweeted that Cole had some right hamstring discomfort:
Cole was replaced by reliever Chris Devenski, who most recently received a start last September. It’s worth noting the Astros elected to use their 26th man position on utilityman Myles Straw as opposed to the customary extra arm. If it’s any consolation, the Astros used three relievers in the first game of their twinbill, so they should be able to avoid completely overtaxing their bullpen.
Of course, Cole’s well-being is the bigger issue here. In 25 starts this season, he’s tallied a 155 ERA+ and has notched more than 5.70 strikeouts per walk. An impending free agent, any significant absence could have ramifications on his next contract.
On a team level, the Astros are all but assured the American League West title. A Cole injury would be more significant as it pertains to the postseason.
It’s probably good news, then, that Cole’s issue was reportedly with his hamstring rather than his shoulder or elbow. We’ll know in the coming days how this affects his status for the short term.