Astros right-hander Lance McCullers made a rehab start with Triple-A Fresno on Friday night, his first since going on the disabled list July 31 due to a back injury. The 23-year-old went three innings against Tacoma, giving up three earned runs on three hits, walking five and striking out one.
Astros right-hander Lance McCullers made a rehab start with Triple-A Fresno on Friday night, his first since going on the disabled list July 31 due to a back injury. The 23-year-old went three innings against Tacoma, giving up three earned runs on three hits, walking five and striking out one. He threw 59 pitches, 33 for strikes.
On Wednesday, Astros manager A.J. Hinch said he felt McCullers would soon be ready to rejoin Houston's starting rotation, suggesting he would make at least two rehab starts for Fresno.
"He threw a really good bullpen [Tuesday] and felt great coming back today and for the first time has cleared sort of the mental and physical hurdles it takes to get back into competition," Hinch said. "He wanted to make sure he could execute some pitches in a high-intensity mode, in a bullpen session and a live session. He's ready to go."
McCullers' last Major League start was on July 30 against the Tigers in Detroit, in which he surrendered five runs over five innings. Entering July, his ERA on the season was 3.05, but in four starts that month, he gave up 20 runs in 18 2/3 innings, inflating his ERA by nearly a run, to 3.92.
The stint on the DL with a back injury is actually McCullers' second this season; he was sidelined briefly in mid-June as well.
Astros ace Dallas Keuchel, who missed nearly two months with a neck injury, had a rough return to the rotation earlier this month, but over his past three starts, he has posted a 1.31 ERA (three earned runs in 20 2/3 innings). Prior to Keuchel's injury, Astros starters had the second-lowest ERA in the Majors, at 3.46. Since then, it ranks No. 14, at 4.61.
Several other Astros are also rehabbing with Fresno, including shortstop Carlos Correa (surgery for a torn thumb ligament), who had the day off Friday, and relievers Will Harris (shoulder), Tony Sipp (calf) and Michael Feliz (shoulder).
Sipp pitched a scoreless fourth inning Friday, and Harris allowed two runs on two hits, walking one and striking out one in the fifth.
Manny Randhawa is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @MannyOnMLB.