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Hinch sets rotation for after All-Star break

McHugh to get ball Friday, followed by Feldman, Keuchel

ST. PETERSBURG -- Astros manager A.J. Hinch set his rotation out of the All-Star break, with right-hander Collin McHugh getting the ball for the series-opener Friday against the Rangers at Minute Maid Park. Veteran right-hander Scott Feldman will be activated from the disabled list to start Saturday, and left-hander Dallas Keuchel is likely to start Sunday.

Keuchel, who could start for the American League in the All-Star Game on Tuesday, Feldman and McHugh figure to be linchpins in the Houston rotation for the second-half playoff push. The Astros will hit the All-Star break with a league-tying 91 games played, which means they'll have more off-days in the second half to manage the rotation.

"At some point," Hinch said, "we're going to need a full rotation."

Lance McCullers Jr., who started Sunday against the Rays, will be a key member of the rotation as well, but won't be on a regular schedule as the Astros monitor his innings. Fellow rookie Vincent Velasquez is in the same boat, and Brett Oberholtzer and Dan Straily -- both of whom were sent down within the past few days following their starts -- figure to be up again to contribute at some point.

Feldman has been out since late May with a torn right medial meniscus that required surgery. He made two rehab starts at Double-A Corpus Christi, and his return will bolster the rotation. He was 4-4 with a 4.80 ERA in 10 starts, including seven quality starts.

All the while, the Astros will be searching the trade market in the next few weeks to try to add a veteran starting pitcher to the mix.

Worth noting

• The Astros called up outfielder L.J. Hoes from Triple-A Fresno to start Sunday's game against the Rays, giving them an extra right-handed bat against Matt Moore. Starting pitcher Dan Straily was optioned to Triple-A. Hoes was hitting .327 with 21 doubles, three triples, three homers and 47 RBIs in 70 games at Fresno.

Brian McTaggart is a reporter for and writes an MLBlog, Tag's Lines. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter and listen to his podcast.
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