Houston Astros pitcher Lance McCullers will begin the new MLB season on the disabled list as he struggles with a sore right shoulder.
“There’s just not going to be enough time to build him up for the role in which we anticipate him doing,” manager A.J. Hinch said on Wednesday morning.
“I told him that this morning so he’d be assured he’s not trying to hit a deadline of Opening Day trying to impress anybody. We want him back healthy as soon as possible, but it’s not going to be Opening Day.”
McCullers has been on the sidelines since reporting soreness after a March 6 throwing session and is unsure when he will be back throwing again.
“We’re kind of taking it day by day,” McCullers said. “I’m feeling a lot better. It’s just up to the training staff and the team. They have my best interests in mind.
“We have the long-term goals in mind. I’m taking it day by day and going off what they say. It’s just getting all the soreness out.”
McCullers has admitted to being frustrated at not having a more specific schedule on his return and has revealed that his patience has been sorely tested.
“My patience is already gone. It’s been like three or four days and I have no more patience. They’re talking me off the ledge.
“You want to pitch in the playoffs and down the stretch. At the same time, I want to pitch now. I want to go to New York [for the start of the regular season] and make that start. It’s frustrating not being able to do that kind of stuff.”
The Astros, however, remain confident that the soreness is not too serious and that McCullers will pitch at some point during the regular season.