AL West Notes: Tucker, Verlander, Bloss, Woo, Jung

Astros Manager Joe Espada gave a disappointing, if not entirely surprising, injury update to two of his biggest stars. Speaking to reporters (including Matt Kawahara of the Houston Chronicle) ahead of today’s game in Toronto, the captain acknowledged that neither team is Kyle Tucker yet Justin Verlander will likely return from the IL before the All-Star break.

Tucker has not played since June 3 after suffering a contusion to his right shin when he hit a ball off his leg. In mid-June, Espada suggested that Tucker would likely require a minor league rehab assignment. With the All-Star break fast approaching and the outfielder not yet beginning to work on the field (according to Kawahara), it’s hard to imagine him returning before the break. The Astros would certainly like to have Tucker back as soon as possible, but they’ve played surprisingly well in the absence of their best hitter. Making sure he’s healthy for the final stretch is more important than having him return in July.

Meanwhile, Verlander hasn’t pitched since June 9, battling neck discomfort. He’s making good progress, but Espada says the future Hall of Famer hasn’t returned to pitching from the mound yet. Again, the Astros could certainly use the veteran in their injury-plagued rotation sooner rather than later, but bringing him back would be a shortsighted move with so much season left.

Another interesting point regarding Verlander: As Kawahara notes, it is now extremely unlikely that his conditional $35 million player option for 2025 will be activated. Even if the 41-year-old were to return immediately after the All-Star break and pitch once every five games for the remainder of the season, he would have to average 6 1/3 innings per start to reach the required 140 innings pitched.

Finally, Espada also mentioned that rookie Jake Bloss will make a rehab start this weekend. Barring any setbacks, the young righty could make his next start in Houston. Bloss, 23, is generally considered one of the Astros’ better pitching prospects. He landed on the IL with shoulder issues on June 21, the same day he made his MLB debut.

More injury updates from the AL West:

  • Forest rangers manager Bruce Bochy gave reporters an update on Josh Jungwho has spent most of the season on the IL. The All-Star third baseman broke his wrist on a hit-by-pitch on April 1. Jung has recently been dealing with a flare-up of discomfort in his injured wrist and has not used a bat since his last rehab game on June 20 (per Kennedi Landry of However, he has no other structural damage. The Rangers are going to sideline him completely for another week, at which point they hope to have him resume his rehab duties (per Jeff Wilson of Rangers Today ). Needless to say, this means Jung will not be ready to return to Arlington for the All-Star break.
  • In more positive news, the Sailors are not prepared to rule out the possibility that Bryan Woo could return to their rotation for the Midsummer Classic. He threw a successful bullpen session on Wednesday (according to Daniel Kramer of ) and will make a rehab start this weekend. If all goes well in that outing, there’s a chance he could make his next start for Seattle. Woo, 24, has pitched exceptionally well in his sophomore season, posting a 1.77 ERA in eight starts. Not all of his underlying numbers are quite as eye-catching (4.01 SIERA, 3.96 xFIP), but there’s no doubt the Mariners want the young hurler back as soon as possible to see more of what he can do.

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