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Friday, January 31, 2014

UPDATE: Astros' Jesse Crain to begin throwing on Monday, February 3

By on 1/31/2014 10:30:00 PM

UPDATE: Houston Astros reliever Jesse Crain is recovering quickly and easily from offseason surgery. He will begin his throwing program on Monday, February 3, reports Evan Drellich of the Houston Chronicle.
ORIGINAL: It is not often that a contending team trades for a pitcher on the disabled list without knowing if said pitcher will return to action down the stretch, but that is exactly what the Tampa Bay Rays did when they acquired reliever Jesse Crain from the White Sox just before the July 31 trade deadline last year. Crain never did pitch for the Rays, and during this offseason, he signed as a free agent with the Houston Astros for one year and $3.25 million.

By Keith Allison, via Wikimedia Commons
Still, Crain has not thrown a baseball since his offseason surgery, but says that is about to change. According to Sunday's reports, Crain will begin throwing in approximately 10 days, which would mean Wednesday, February 5, if that schedule holds true. He said his recovery is going very well, and he has set a plan that will allow him to report to camp on February 15 ready for a normal Spring Training program.

He had surgery to repair the biceps and shoulder strain that sidelined him from July 2 through the rest of the season. At the time of his injury, he was one of the elite setup men in the Majors in 2013 for Chicago. He was 2-3 but with a 0.74 ERA, 1.145 WHIP, 11.3 K/9 ratio, and 2.4 WAR in 38 appearances. He also made the A.L. All-Star team.

Like most recovering pitchers, Crain understands the importance of pacing himself. He wants to make sure that he is fully-recovered, and waiting a few more days will give him a chance to heal more while still getting his arm ready for Spring Training when pitchers and catchers report. He explained his position at FanFest over the weekend. Said Crain,
"We have a plan and a certain schedule for that and so far all the rehab has been going well. We just want to make sure that I'm all the way healthy and strong before we get to that next step because you can always speed it up on the back end."
Naturally, the Astros want the Crain of early 2013, but they will take whatever he can deliver. The Astros' bullpen was dead last in the Majors in ERA at 4.92 and first in losses with 40. If Crain can deliver anything remotely resembling his 2013 first-half performance, then the Astros may have a chance at improving on their 51-111 record from a year ago.

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