Morton (lat strain) set to pitch in Minors game

McCullers Jr. eyeing return on upcoming road trip

June 17th, 2017

HOUSTON -- Astros pitcher Charlie Morton will throw in a Minor League rehab game at Triple-A Fresno next week while the team is in nearby Oakland for a series against the A's. Morton is tentatively scheduled to start Thursday and pitch two innings for the Grizzlies.

Morton, on the disabled list since May 25 with a right lat strain, threw about 35 pitches in a bullpen session on Friday and will throw again on Monday to get prepared for Thursday. Morton said he'll likely simulate a third inning of pitching in the bullpen following his outing.

"He was very excited based on his last bullpen session because he felt good. He's starting to critique himself on his actual pitching and not how he feels, and that's always a good sign for me and the coaches that he's starting to get to the baseball side of things," manager A.J. Hinch said. "He'll go with us to Oakland and then it should be an easy commute to potentially go to Fresno in some capacity when he's ready to do a little more."

Meanwhile, Hinch said right-hander will be activated from the DL and start a game on the team's upcoming road trip, which begins Monday with four games in Oakland before shifting to Seattle next weekend. McCullers, who played catch on Saturday, has been on the DL since June 9 with lower back discomfort.

"There's still some things he needs to do to satisfy everyone that he's ready to start, but certainly the initial plan would be for him to start on the road trip," Hinch said.

Also, right-hander , who's been out since the end of spring with a posterior impingement in his right elbow, could face hitters during a live batting practice session next week either in Florida or in Houston.