HOUSTON -- The Houston Astros will be without the services of right-hander Lance McCullers Jr. after he declared himself out for the World Series on Monday.
McCullers, 28, left Game 4 of the ALDS against the Chicago White Sox with forearm tightness and missed the ALCS against the Boston Red Sox, but remained hopeful he might return to the Fall Classic. He gave himself about a 1% chance, but doctors told him he needed six to eight weeks before picking up a baseball. It has been only three.
"With the type of strain I have in my forearm, it's typically six to eight weeks before you pick up a ball," McCullers said. "We remained hopeful. We tried to push it as far as we could, but just couldn't make it back to throwing."
McCullers indicated he would be fully ready for spring training after a season in which he went 13-5 with a 3.16 ERA.
"I'm a pretty positive person, so it definitely is disappointing and disheartening," McCullers said of missing the World Series. "The worst thing is I just feel I can't be there for the team in the way they need me the most, which is on the field. I'm sure the fans are disappointed. I surely am."
The club hasn't decided if center fielder Jake Meyers will be available after he injured his left shoulder in the first round of the postseason. Rosters are due before Game 1 on Tuesday morning.
In the opener, Houston will start left-hander Framber Valdez against the Atlanta Braves. Valdez, 27, is coming off the best start of any pitcher this postseason after going eight innings and giving up just one run against the Red Sox in Game 5 at Fenway Park. He'll be opposed by Braves right-hander Charlie Morton.