Morton on track for Saturday return from DL

If righty is unable to start in Boston, Astros will turn to James

September 3rd, 2018

HOUSTON -- The Astros are aiming for veteran right-hander Charlie Morton to return from the disabled list this weekend in Boston. Astros manager AJ Hinch said Monday that Morton would start Saturday at Fenway Park if he responds well after throwing a bullpen session this week.

Morton played catch for the second day in a row on Monday at Minute Maid Park. He was placed on the 10-day disabled list Wednesday with right shoulder discomfort. At the time, the Astros were hoping he would miss only one start and return for the Red Sox series.

Morton, 34, has thrown 152 innings in 26 starts this year, going 13-3 with a 3.14 ERA. In the past two seasons, including the postseason, he's gone 29-11 with a 3.44 ERA in 322 innings, which are the most he's thrown in any two consecutive seasons in his career.

Hinch said Monday that if Morton doesn't feel well enough to start on Saturday, then rookie Josh James would start in his place. James made his Major League debut Saturday and struck out nine batters in five innings against the Angels. He is ranked as Houston's No. 6 prospect by MLB Pipeline.