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Morton expected to return against Red Sox

Veteran righty on track to start on Saturday at Fenway Park
MLB.com @brianmctaggart

HOUSTON -- Astros manager AJ Hinch said on Wednesday that veteran right-hander Charlie Morton is scheduled to start Saturday's game against the Red Sox at Fenway Park. Morton was placed on the disabled list last Wednesday with right shoulder discomfort, and the expectation at the time was that he'd miss only one start.

Morton, who threw in the bullpen on Tuesday, has gone 13-3 with a 3.14 ERA in 26 starts (152 innings) this year. He allowed three hits and four walks in 4 2/3 innings in his last start on Aug. 28 against the A's at Minute Maid Park.

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HOUSTON -- Astros manager AJ Hinch said on Wednesday that veteran right-hander Charlie Morton is scheduled to start Saturday's game against the Red Sox at Fenway Park. Morton was placed on the disabled list last Wednesday with right shoulder discomfort, and the expectation at the time was that he'd miss only one start.

Morton, who threw in the bullpen on Tuesday, has gone 13-3 with a 3.14 ERA in 26 starts (152 innings) this year. He allowed three hits and four walks in 4 2/3 innings in his last start on Aug. 28 against the A's at Minute Maid Park.

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"So, unless something unforeseen happens, he's on track to be the starting pitcher," Hinch said.

Rookie Josh James was as candidate to make his second career start if Morton couldn't pitch on Saturday, but James, ranked as the club's No. 6 prospect by MLB Pipeline, will be available out of the bullpen instead beginning Friday. The Astros haven't made a determination how they would handle James beyond this weekend's series in Boston.

Worth noting
• Infielder/outfielder Marwin Gonzalez, who left Monday's game with right oblique discomfort, was "doing a little bit better," Hinch said. The Astros are aiming for him to return to action at some point in the Boston series.

Video: MIN@HOU: Rondon hit by a line-drive comebacker

• Relief pitcher Hector Rondon, who left Monday's game when he was struck on the right hand by a 109-mph line drive, is doing "exceptionally well," Hinch said. He didn't rule out Rondon being available to pitch on Wednesday, but he would certainly be cleared to throw in a game by Friday.

• Right-hander Lance McCullers Jr., who went on the DL on Aug. 5 with a muscle strain in his right forearm, threw off the mound on Wednesday. Hinch categorized it as a light bullpen session with McCullers throwing 15-20 fastballs, saying he came out of it "very excited." Hinch said McCullers could throw a more rigorous bullpen this weekend in Boston.

Brian McTaggart has covered the Astros since 2004, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter and listen to his podcast.

Houston Astros, Charlie Morton