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Keuchel, McHugh progress toward return

MLB.com

TORONTO -- Astros manager A.J. Hinch has set the team's early rotation schedule for after the All-Star break, and that group could soon get a boost when Dallas Keuchel and Collin McHugh return from the disabled list.

Charlie Morton will open Houston's series against the Twins on Friday. He is scheduled to be followed by Joe Musgrove and Mike Fiers, with the two following spots to be clarified soon.

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TORONTO -- Astros manager A.J. Hinch has set the team's early rotation schedule for after the All-Star break, and that group could soon get a boost when Dallas Keuchel and Collin McHugh return from the disabled list.

Charlie Morton will open Houston's series against the Twins on Friday. He is scheduled to be followed by Joe Musgrove and Mike Fiers, with the two following spots to be clarified soon.

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"[Lance] McCullers and [Brad] Peacock are both pitching in the Seattle series," Hinch said. "What order it is kind of depends a little bit on how we see today and once we get to next week."

Keuchel is playing catch and throwing a bullpen session off a mound on Sunday in Toronto as he continues to work back from neck discomfort. The left-hander posted a 1.67 ERA over 11 starts before hitting the DL and will still be attending this week's All-Star Game in Miami, where Hinch says Keuchel will throw again.

The Astros will have a clearer picture of Keuchel's schedule after Sunday, but the return of him and McHugh will present Hinch with a good problem in the team's rotation.

"We've got to put our team back together a little bit," Hinch said, "and a lot depends on the roles of a lot of our guys. Musgrove being one of them, Peacock being another. Dallas coming back potentially, McHugh coming back potentially. We're going to go from having rotation questions to having rotation depth."

Another pitcher that will be impacted is Francis Martes, who's made four starts and two relief appearances since being recalled one month ago. Most recently, the 21-year-old pitched the ninth inning of Houston's 12-2 win against the Blue Jays on July 7.

Hinch said that Martes could stay in the bullpen or return to Triple-A to be stretched out as a starter. In eight starts with the Fresno Grizzlies before his promotion, Martes had posted an uncharacteristic 5.29 ERA, due to an elevated walk total of 28 in just 32 1/3 innings.

Keegan Matheson is a reporter for MLB.com based in Toronto.

Houston Astros, Dallas Keuchel, Collin McHugh