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MLB - US Sports: Astros facing absence of Odorizzi

Houston's right-handed pitcher Jake Odorizzi exited in the bottom of the fifth inning with lower left leg discomfort as the Astros lost 6-3 to the Boston Red Sox.

Odorizzi - 300/1 to win the American League Cy Young award - threw a cutter to Kike Hernandez and the 32-year-old then went face down to the right of the mound - Hernandez sent the pitch directly to first baseman Yuli Gurriel, who recorded the out at first.

Odorizzi helped from the field

Head trainer Jeremiah Randall and the Astros' training staff came out and Odorizzi exited on a stretcher, not putting any weight on his left leg.

It's a blow for the veteran pitcher, who had recently started to find his form after struggling through his first three starts of the season. On Monday the right-hander retired the first nine batters he faced on 32 pitches.

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Speaking to the official Astros website, team manager Dusty Baker said: "He's (Odorizzi) probably doing better than it looked like on the mound. He has to go get analyzed by the doctors tomorrow, so we'll get word tomorrow.

"He's on crutches and he was in a boot, he's in a good mood, so we hope for the best."

Baker hopeful on Odorizzi return

"He came into camp in great spirits, in great shape, and he was throwing the ball great. You know he's a strong guy; this is a temporary setback. We still have a long way to go and, hopefully, we'll get him back and he'll return the way he left."

With the Astros recently using a six-man rotation during a stretch of 33 games in 34 days. Cristian Javier would be a natural first to fill Odorizzi's spot for the time being.

Right-hander Seth Martinez, who is now on the Astros' taxi squad, is also an option.

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