‘I’m incredibly excited to get back out there’: Tanner Houck set to return to Red Sox on Monday or Tuesday

Red Sox

Houck will likely start a game in the upcoming series against the Astros.

Matthew J. Lee/Globe Staff
Tanner Houck has been consistently good against the Yankees over his career. Can he produce similar results Saturday?

The Red Sox are set to get back another pitching arm in the coming days.

Tanner Houck is returning to the Red Sox and pitch in either Monday or Tuesday’s game of their four-game series against the Astros. It’ll mark Houck’s first appearance in an MLB since June 16, when he suffered a facial fracture on a line drive hit to the face during a start against the Yankees.

Following tests, it was determined that Houck needed to undergo surgery to insert a plate under his right eye, where he was struck by Kyle Higashioka’s line drive.

Houck pitched well in his three-game rehab assignment. The righty posted a 2.08 ERA with 10 strikeouts and a 0.92 WHIP in his 8 2/3 innings pitched with Triple-A Worcester. He pitched four scoreless innings in his final outing on Wednesday, giving up just one hit and striking out four hitters.

Houck is ready to get back on the big league bump.

“I’m the type of guy where I’ll take the ball. Give me 30 minutes before a game — doesn’t matter — I’ll give you the best I can,” Houck told MLB.com. “I’ll leave it all out there, whether it’s Monday or Tuesday, I’m incredibly excited to get back out there with this team.”

For the first time in his three full seasons in the majors, the 27-year-old Houck has exclusively been used as a starting pitcher. While Houck’s numbers for the season aren’t great (3-6 with a 5.05 ERA and 1.256 WHIP), he was pitching better prior to the injury. He had a 4.32 ERA with a 1.16 ERA to go along with 26 strikeouts in 25 innings pitched over his last five starts before he was struck in the face by a line drive.

Houck’s return will mark the third starting pitcher the Red Sox have welcomed back to the team from injury since Aug. 11. However, some decisions had to be made with the returning players. Chris Sale kept his spot in the rotation though he hasn’t pitched his usual workload yet. Meanwhile, Garrett Whitlock was sent back to the bullpen upon his return.

Red Sox manager Alex Cora has hinted that Houck will return to the rotation when he’s activated. Whether he’s added to the rotation as a sixth starter or replaces someone in there remains to be seen as Cora praised Kutter Crawford on Saturday before he pitched six innings of one-run ball against the Yankees.

“He’s been good, man,” Cora told reporters. “If you look at the numbers, we talk about after the All-Star break, but when you break it down — he was good in San Francisco, he was good in Chicago. He’s one of our best pitchers. We feel comfortable going out there with him today. The fact is that we have to protect him, most of the time it’s five [innings]. We understand that, and he gives his best for five and we move on.”

Originally posted 2023-08-19 19:49:13.