Cristian Javier goes on IL as Astros’ injury bug continues ravaging rotation

The Houston Astros are placing Cristian Javier on injured reserve with a neck issue, manager Joe Espada told reporters Sunday morning, continuing an avalanche of injuries ravaging the team’s rotation.

Javier will be Houston’s sixth starter to spend time on the IL this season and joins four projected members of the team’s rotation currently sidelined.

Ace Justin Verlander returned from the IL on Friday, pitching six two-run innings in his season debut against the Washington Nationals.

Javier was scheduled to start Sunday’s series finale at Nationals Park, but was scratched by what the Astros described as “neck discomfort.” Hunter Brown, on regular rest, started in place of Javier.

Speaking on the team’s radio network before Sunday’s game, general manager Dana Brown downplayed the severity of Javier’s injury.

“We just want to be cautious here,” Brown said. “It’s the start of the season. This is his second year as a starter. This thing is a chore and you need to treat it like a chore. You have to treat this like a marathon.

Javier had become one of Houston’s most stabilizing starters during an otherwise dreadful April. He allowed four earned runs in his first four starts, striking out 18 in 23 1/3 innings.

Now, Javier will join Lance McCullers Jr., Luis Garcia, Jose Urquidy and Framber Valdez on the IL. The team is optimistic that Valdez can return to the rotation during this eight-game road trip, but has not detailed any pitching plans beyond Brown’s departure on Sunday.

Neither McCullers nor Garcia are expected to return before the All-Star break. Urquidy, who sprained his forearm during spring training, still hasn’t been able to throw off a mound.

Espada told reporters the team would recall top pitcher Spencer Arrighetti to take Javier’s spot on the active roster. Earlier this month, Arrighetti made two starts in his first stint in the major leagues. He allowed nine earned runs in seven innings.

Arrighetti will be part of the team’s rotation during Javier’s absence, Brown said.

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(Photo: Tim Warner/Getty Images)

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