Reliever Jesse Crain hasn’t been on the hill since July 29 of last year. But Crain, who has been out due to biceps tendinitis surgery, could make his Houston Astros debut by the end of this month.
“We’re setting his date as a goal that he’s out with us or one of our Minor League affiliates in games,” Astros GM Jeff Luhnow told MLB.com. “He’s been making progress. He’s feeling better.”
The Astros picked up Crain, who was brilliant for the Chicago White Sox last season before a late-season trade to the Tampa Bay Rays, in hopes of adding a veteran arm to their bullpen, but haven’t been able to have him take the ball yet.
The 32-year-old right-hander signed a one-year, $3.25 million deal to come to Houston, where he makes his offseason home, after posting a 0.74 ERA in 38 games and being named to the All-Star team in 2013.
“When [Crain] is healthy, he’s as good as it gets out of the bullpen,” Astros GM Jeff Luhnow said to MLB.com at the time of his signing. “This definitely shores up one of our big weaknesses of the team last year, which was the bullpen. I like our young guys, but I feel adding experienced relievers will help with their development and help them mature and help us win some games.”
The Astros aren’t going to rush Crain back, but the hopes that he is on track to be ready by the end of May offer a huge boost to the Houston bullpen.