HOUSTON -- After throwing 45 pitches in three scoreless innings on Monday night in a Minor League rehab start at Double-A Corpus Christi, Astros ace Dallas Keuchel told MLB.com he's ready to return to a big league mound.Keuchel, who has been on the disabled list since June 5 with neck
HOUSTON -- After throwing 45 pitches in three scoreless innings on Monday night in a Minor League rehab start at Double-A Corpus Christi, Astros ace Dallas Keuchel told MLB.com he's ready to return to a big league mound.
Keuchel, who has been on the disabled list since June 5 with neck discomfort stemming from a pinched nerve, allowed two hits and walked one against Frisco. He threw 29 of his 45 pitches for strikes, recording six groundouts to go along with three strikeouts.
"Getting up and down three times, having a normal bullpen session before the game, that for sure was the biggest key for me to getting my mind to believe that I'm ready to get back," said Keuchel, who went 9-0 with a 1.67 ERA in his first 11 starts for the Astros.
The 29-year-old left-hander hasn't pitched since going six scoreless innings in a win over the Rangers on June 2 in Arlington, and now the Astros will have to decide whether they want to give Keuchel another rehab start or plug him back into the rotation.
"I really think that through this whole DL stint that I really never lost a lot when it came to command, and I knew it was going to take a little bit of time for velocity to come back, but the command never left me," Keuchel said. "That was a very positive step forward today just to see how I would respond with some adrenaline and competition in the box.
"The velocity was actually better than I thought it was going to be. I really believe that I could go in a big league game. It's just a matter of how I bounce back. Tomorrow is going to be the biggest key for sure."
Keuchel said he was pleasantly surprised with how his body responded to his routine and the adrenaline.
"That's probably the best news I've felt in a long time," Keuchel said. "We'll look to continue and hopefully have a good day tomorrow. I just need to bounce back, and we'll make a decision on what's next."
Brian McTaggart has covered the Astros since 2004, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter and listen to his podcast.