SEATTLE — Maybe the Astros finally have some explanation on All-Star closer Ryan Pressly’s dip in his velocity this year.
The Astros on Saturday placed Pressly on the 10-day injured list with right knee inflammation. Pressly, who took the loss in Wednesday’s game in Arizona, flew to Houston to get the knee examined, manager Dusty Baker said. Assistant general manager Andrew Ball said Pressly was getting the knee drained.
“Right now, we expect it to be fairly short term,” Ball said. “It’s that type of thing you need to take it day by day and see how the knee responds and make sure we get the best version of him back out here to be successful.”
The Astros purchased the contract of left-hander Parker Mushinski, who joined the club prior to Saturday’s game against the Mariners from Triple-A. He’s awaiting his Major League debut.
Pressly, who had surgery on his right knee in 2019, had seen his velocity dip in the spring and into the regular season. In four outings this year, covering 3 1/3 innings, he averaged 92.7 mph on his fastball, which was down notably from his 95.4 mph average of a year ago. His average curveball velocity is down 2.1 mph (79.9 mph this year) and his slider is down 2.3 mph (88.2 mph).
Baker was asked if he thought Pressly’s knee issue was the cause of his velocity drop: “I asked him and he said he didn’t think that it did but that’s your shove-off leg, too. He’s a tough guy. He’s not going to make any alibis or excuses. We’ve just got to get him right.”
Ball said he doesn’t expect Pressly will be on the injured list long term and that he could have pitched through the injury.
“But we said, ‘Why don’t you take a breather? We have the time right now, we have a little bit bigger roster, we have some off-days coming up here and just get yourself 100 percent rather than trying to pitch through this and do some long-term damage where we end up missing you for an extended period of time,’” Ball said.
Baker said Rafael Montero, Héctor Neris and Ryne Stanek could all see time as closer, depending on the matchup. All have some experience closing games, and Neris was the on-again, off-again closer for the Phillies the last few years.
Mushinski, 26, had appeared in four games for Triple-A Sugar Land, throwing 4 2/3 innings. Last year, he split time at Sugar Land and Double-A Corpus Christi and posted a 3.60 ERA with 84 strikeouts in 65 innings while bouncing between starting and relieving.
“He’s been throwing the ball really well at Triple-A,” Ball said. “I know it’s a short start to the season, but he’s been looking really good from an on-field performance standpoint and preparation. Just talking to our coaches down there and [pitching coach] Erick Abreu and [manager] Mickey Storey and those guys, he was just somebody that was ready to come up for this. … He’s somebody we feel pretty good about matching up against lefties, matching up against righties.”
The Astros didn’t need to make a corresponding 40-man roster move for Mushinski because designated hitter Yordan Alvarez is on the COVID-IL, which doesn’t count against the 40-man.