Rest to precede Astros' Grapefruit opener

Recovering Gregerson takes part in fundamental drill; Hinch has eye on Cotts

February 29th, 2016

KISSIMMEE, Fla. -- With the Astros set to begin games Thursday and nearly two weeks into camp, manager A.J. Hinch is giving the majority of the players a "rest and recovery" day on Tuesday, telling most of the players to stay home and take the day off.

Right-hander Doug Fister, who's scheduled to start Thursday's Grapefruit League opener against the Phillies in Clearwater, Fla.,(12:05 p.m. CT on MLB.TV) will throw in the bullpen Tuesday, along with Dan Straily. Scott Feldman and Luke Gregerson will play catch, Hinch said, and Evan Gattis (recovering from hernia surgery) will get his treatment in.

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"I asked our guys to stay away," Hinch said. "They're not going to get extra-credit points for showing up and working out. When I give them rest and recovery time, I want them to use it."

• Gregerson, who's suffering from a left oblique strain, participated in a full-team fundamental drill Monday for the first time this spring. Gregerson said pitchers' fielding practice went well and he hopes to be able to get on the mound soon, but the Astros are being cautious.

"I've been doing all that stuff anyway on the side, but it felt good and I was moving well, but we're on the right track," Gregerson said. "I'll get on the mound, but we'll work our way into throwing to hitters and games. I'm not really sure what the timeframe is exactly, but I'm sure it's not too far away."

• Left-hander Dallas Keuchel and right-hander Lance McCullers both of whom are on individualized throwing programs this spring, both threw bullpen sessions on the back fields on Monday while two pitching groups faced hitters. Newcomer Neal Cotts threw off the rubber between McCullers and Keuchel, and that's who Hinch had his eye on.

"I hadn't seen him close," Hinch said. "Keuchel was one side and McCullers was on the other, so I got a sneak peek at those two. I wanted to see Cotts throw and see how he did his work and how he likes his bullpen sessions, what some of the reactions are after pitches."

• Hinch announced his starting pitchers beyond Thursday's game: lefty Wandy Rodriguez on Friday against the Cardinals, Collin McHugh on Saturday against the Mets, Feldman on Sunday at home against the Blue Jays, Brad Peacock on Sunday at the Pirates and Mike Fiers on Monday at the Yankees.

Keuchel and McCullers are expected to make their first starts sometime next week.