Righty was Astros' Minor League Pitcher of the Year in '16
By Brian McTaggart
HOUSTON -- Astros prospect Brady Rodgers will be out of action for up to a year after he underwent Tommy John surgery on his right elbow Tuesday in New York. The surgery was performed by orthopedic surgeon Dr. David W. Altchek.
Rodgers, 26, was named the Astros' Minor League Pitcher of the Year in 2016 and made his big league debut in September. Last year, he went 12-4 with a 2.86 ERA, 23 walks, 116 strikeouts, two complete games and one shutout in 22 starts for Triple-A Fresno. He's ranked as Houston's No. 21 prospect, according to MLBPipeline.com.
The right-hander left his April 19 start -- his third of the year -- with elbow discomfort.
"It's unfortunate because the timing of it means that he's not only going to miss all this year, but a substantial portion of next year as well," general manager Jeff Luhnow said. "He can't control the timing. He was out there for a game and felt something in the fifth inning and came out of the game. He was concerned. We had him come here and our doctors checked him out and they diagnosed him with a tear that needed surgical solution. He went to get a second opinion and decided to have surgery this morning."
Rodgers was on the short list of starting pitchers the Astros would have turned to this year if there was a need in the rotation. Mike Hauschild, a former Rule 5 pick who was recently returned to the Astros from the Rangers, is back at Triple-A Fresno as a starter. Also, Astros bullpen arm Brad Peacock could start as well.
"Obviously, we're going to keep monitoring everybody's health and performance and make adjustments as we go along," Luhnow said. "It's just unfortunate because Brady had gotten to the big leagues this last year and we really felt like he had a good spring and got off to a good start and we felt like he could really make a difference up here this year. It's not going to happen."
Meanwhile, rookie reliever Jandel Gustave threw his second bullpen Monday after going on the 10-day disabled list April 19 with right forearm tightness. Astros manager A.J. Hinch was hopeful that would be his last test before he faces hitters. He said there's a tentative plan to get him out to a Minor League affiliate soon because he's cleared the hurdle of having "any sensitive feelings in his elbow or his shoulder or arm soreness."
Brian McTaggart has covered the Astros since 2004, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.