OAKLAND -- Astros right-hander Lance McCullers is expected to return from the disabled list and start Saturday in Seattle, manager A.J. Hinch announced Tuesday in Oakland.McCullers was placed on the DL June 9 with lower back inflammation. He threw a bullpen session Monday and will throw another one in Oakland
OAKLAND -- Astros right-hander Lance McCullers is expected to return from the disabled list and start Saturday in Seattle, manager A.J. Hinch announced Tuesday in Oakland.
McCullers was placed on the DL June 9 with lower back inflammation. He threw a bullpen session Monday and will throw another one in Oakland before starting Saturday, if everything goes well. Hinch was encouraged by how Monday's bullpen session went.
"Everything came out great. He wants to throw off the mound again because everything came out so great," Hinch said. "I think he actually wants to fatigue himself a little bit. It doesn't surprise me that he felt great. He kind of freshened up his whole body, and the inflammation in his back is gone."
On the season, McCullers is 6-1 with a 2.58 ERA in 13 starts. He's struck out 89 in 76 2/3 innings while having a WHIP of 1.057. Hinch said he's probably going to have some type of pitch limit on McCullers on Saturday.
"We'll discuss it before the Seattle game, but I've been pretty cautious with his workload from the beginning of the season on," Hinch said, "We'll have to ease him back into it, for sure, given that he's been down."
In addition to McCullers facing the Mariners, right-hander Joe Musgrove also will start in Seattle on Friday night, with right-hander Brad Peacock currently slotted for Sunday. But Hinch added that Peacock and his wife, Stephanie, are expecting and have a due date coming soon. If Peacock needs to go on paternity leave, No. 1 prospect Francis Martes would start instead.
• Left-hander Dallas Keuchel (neck discomfort) played catch for the second straight day Tuesday. Hinch said there is no timetable for when Keuchel will throw off the mound, but it could happen on this road trip.
• Right-hander Charlie Morton (right lat strain) will make a rehab start for Triple-A Fresno on Thursday. Hinch said the Astros are hoping to have him throw at least 40 pitches in two or three innings.
Alex Simon is a reporter for MLB.com and covered the Astros on Tuesday. Follow him on Twitter at @alexsimon99.