McHugh due to rejoin Astros on Saturday

Righty will make 2017 debut vs. O's after recovering from elbow impingement

July 18th, 2017

HOUSTON -- is back.

McHugh, Houston's right-handed starting pitcher who has missed all 93 games this season with a posterior impingement in his throwing elbow, is scheduled to return to the Astros' rotation to make his first start this season on Saturday in Baltimore, manager A.J. Hinch said.

"Getting McHugh back will be nice," Hinch said. "He's been itching to get back to Major League action, so we'll give him a start."

Hinch said righty Mike Fiers will start Friday's series opener in Baltimore, and right-hander will follow McHugh as Houston's starter on Sunday.

With McHugh's upcoming return, 24-year-old righty Joe Musgrove will be demoted out of the rotation and will move to Houston's bullpen this week. Musgrove is 0-2 in his past three starts with a 10.67 ERA, dating back to June 23.

McHugh allowed one unearned run on 69 pitches in his six-inning rehab start on Monday, his fourth rehab assignment. He threw an additional 20-25 controlled pitches in the bullpen after his start.

Having not pitched in a MLB regular-season game since Oct. 1, 2016, is McHugh ready to return to big league action?

"I think so," McHugh said on Monday. "In terms of being ready to move onto the next step and face big league guys, I feel as good as I've felt in a long time."

McHugh's fastball velocity reached 90-92 mph in his most recent rehab assignment and his secondary pitches are "about where they should be," he said of his velocity.

Meanwhile, Astros ace left-hander , working back from neck discomfort, tossed three scoreless innings on 45 pitches in a rehab start on Monday for Double-A Corpus Christi.

Keuchel will throw a bullpen session on Wednesday. It is unclear when and where Keuchel will have his second rehab assignment, but another rehab start is expected.

"Dallas feels great, which is really encouraging," Hinch said.