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Astros pitcher’s start pushed back due to elbow injury during champagne celebration

Lance McCullers Jr. is in line to start Game 4 of the American League Championship Series for the Houston Astros Sunday, but he came pretty close to not being an option at all.

The right-hander avoided the worst when a champagne bottle cut his elbow during the team’s celebration following its ALDS win over the Seattle Mariners last week.

“I’m OK. It’s just a little bit of swelling, not a huge deal,” McCullers said. 

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McCullers had been scheduled to start Game 3 originally, but Cristian Javier will take the bump Saturday instead.

“Earlier in the week, we thought it would be beneficial to give me some days off, let everything settle down and give me an extra day to go [in] Game 4. It was really no one’s fault,” McCullers said. “It was just an accident, so it’s not a huge deal.”

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McCullers threw a 35-pitch bullpen Friday and reported no issues. He will go up against Nestor Cortes.

The last time the Yankees faced McCullers in the postseason, he threw 27 consecutive curveballs to end the 2017 ALCS and send the Astros to the World Series.

McCullers has been plagued by injuries the last few years. He missed the entire 2019 season recovering from Tommy John surgery, and he missed most of this season with a forearm injury he suffered late last season.

In his eight starts this year, he pitched to a 2.27 ERA.

McCullers tossed six scoreless innings in the ALDS clincher, which took 18 innings to complete.

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