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Tommy John surgery ends Gustave's season

By Alex Espinoza / Special to MLB.com

Wednesday, June 21, 2017 8:28 PM CT

OAKLAND -- Astros reliever Jandel Gustave underwent Tommy John surgery on Wednesday morning in Houston, and is expected to be out until 2018.

Gustave pitched in six games this season before being placed on the disabled list April 19 with right forearm tightness. But as the 24-year-old tried to work his way back over the past few weeks, his arm didn't respond well.

"He just never felt right," manager A.J. Hinch said. "As he did his throwing program, it got a little bit more aggressive. He got off the mound a couple of times and fought some intermittent soreness, and never got better. As we continued to talk to him, to gather information from him, to test him, the test revealed that surgery was the next option."

Gustave made the Astros' Opening Day roster after a stellar Spring Training, and was used as a situational righty before the injury. Using a mid-90s fastball and hard slider, Gustave posted a 5.40 ERA with two strikeouts and seven walks over five innings.

"It's unfortunate to lose him," Hinch said. "He made our Opening Day roster for a reason. He's an impactful, young arm. We'll get him well, and see him next year."

Springer ties own franchise mark

Is George Springer the best player in the league? Jose Altuve thinks so. Or at least that's what the second baseman told Hinch on Tuesday night, as they witnessed Springer hit his eighth leadoff homer of the year.

Upon hearing the praise from his All-Star teammate, Springer couldn't help but be humbled.

"It's special, coming from him, because he's arguably one of the best players in this league," Springer said. "He said he wants to be like me, and I was like, 'How I feel now is how you'll feel for a whole year.'"

Video: Springer providing more power from top of lineup

Springer entered Wednesday with a team-high 21 homers. His eight leadoff homers match a franchise record held by himself (2016) and Craig Biggio (2001).

"I don't really look into stuff like that," Springer said. "I just try to hit the ball hard, try to help the team. I understand I'm hitting first, so whatever happens, happens. I guess it's cool."

Over his past 22 games entering Wednesday, Springer slashed .365/.425/.802 with 12 homers, 22 RBIs and six doubles. Flashes like this have come over the past few seasons for Springer, but Hinch said the outfielder has taken it to another level.

"One of the challenges for George is to put together for the longer stretches," Hinch said, "to be consistent in the strike zone, the swing, getting some hits, while getting some power. It's been as effective as he's been for the longest period of time. He's gone on some tears where he'll dominate a series, or he'll dominate a week. Now, he's dominating almost a month now."

Worth noting

• Hinch said right-hander Collin McHugh (posterior impingement in right elbow) threw a successful 24-pitch live batting practice session on Wednesday, using all of his pitches, without any setbacks. McHugh is scheduled to throw another live BP session in the near future.

Alex Espinoza is a contributor to MLB.com based in the Bay Area and covered the Astros on Wednesday. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.