Starter Astros Jake Odorizzi was carried off the field during tonight’s game against the Red Sox. The right-hander broke to cover first base after Enrique Hernandez hitting a ground ball to the right side of the infield. He stumbled off the mound and fell to the ground in pain; he was eventually carried off the pitch.
The team has yet to provide a substantive update, only noting that he left the game due to lower left leg discomfort. Club officials plan to provide more details after the game. Given the nature of the injury, it would be a real surprise if the veteran didn’t need a stint on the injured list. Whether he faces a particularly notable absence will be known after undergoing further testing.
Odorizzi has made seven starts this season, pitching 31 2/3 innings. He has a solid 3.13 ERA, but that comes with worse than average hitting, walking, and ground ball ratings. Odorizzi benefited from his opponents’ meager .258 batting average on live balls while allowing only one home run against 128 batters faced.
The Astros deployed a six-man rotation, with Justin Verlander, Christian Javier, Jose Urquidy, Luis Garcia and Framber Valdez joining Odorizzi in the starting staff. This group has been among the most effective in the game, and pitching coach Josh Miller told reporters ahead of today’s contest that he plans to stay with the six-man staff (link via Houston’s Chandler Rome chronicle). An absence of Odorizzi would obviously affect the composition of this group, leaving the Astros to decide whether to return to a rotation of five men or bring in a reinforcement like Brandon Bielak or Peter Solomon of Triple-A Sugar Land.
If Odorizzi faces a long-term absence, it could prove quite costly for him personally. He signed an incentive deal with the club at the end of the 2020-21 off-season. Odorizzi is playing this season with a base salary of $5 million; it would trigger a $500,000 incentive for reaching 100 innings pitched, with additional bonuses of $1M+ for every 10 innings thereafter up to 160 frames. His deal also contains a $6.5 million player option for next season, along with a $3.25 million buyout; the option price and buyout figure would increase if Odorizzi made at least 20 starts this year.