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

Astros manager Joe Espada offered a disappointing, if not entirely surprising, injury update regarding two of his biggest stars. Speaking to reporters (including Matt Kawahara of the Houston Chronicle) ahead of today’s contest in Toronto, the skipper acknowledged that neither Kyle Tucker nor Justin Verlander is likely to return from the IL before the All-Star break.

Tucker has not played since June 3 as he nurses a right shin contusion he suffered when he fouled 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 yet to begin any on-field work (per Kawahara), it’s hard to imagine he makes it back before the break. The Astros would surely like to have Tucker back as soon as possible, but they have played surprisingly well in their best hitter’s absence. Making sure that he’s healthy for the stretch run is more important than rushing him back in July.

Meanwhile, Verlander has not pitched since June 9; he is dealing with neck discomfort. He is progressing well, but Espada says the future Hall of Famer has not yet gotten back to throwing off a mound. Once again, the Astros could certainly use the veteran in their injury-plagued rotation ASAP, but rushing him back would be a shortsighted move with so much season left to play.

Another point of interest concerning Verlander: As Kawahara notes, it is now extremely unlikely that his conditional $35MM player option for 2025 will be triggered. Even if the 41-year-old were to return immediately after the All-Star break and pitch once every five games for the rest of the season, he would need to average 6 1/3 innings per start to reach the necessary 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 discomfort on June 21, the same day that he made his MLB debut.

More injury updates from around the AL West:

  • Rangers manager Bruce Bochy offered reporters an update on Josh Jungwho has been on the IL almost all season. The All-Star third baseman fractured his wrist on a hit-by-pitch on April 1. Jung has recently been nursing a flare-up of discomfort in his injured wrist and has not swung a bat since his last rehab game on June 20 (per Kennedi Landry of However, he has no further structural damage. The Rangers are going to shut him down completely for another week, after which they hope he’ll be able to restart his rehab assignment (per Jeff Wilson of Rangers Today). Needless to say, this means Jung will not be ready to return to Arlington before the All-Star break.
  • In more positive news, the Mariners aren’t ready to rule out the possibility that Bryan Woo could return to their rotation ahead of the Midsummer Classic. He threw a successful bullpen session on Wednesday (per 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, with 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 would like to have the young hurler back as soon as possible to see more of what he’s capable of.

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