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McHugh to make rehab start on Friday

MLB.com @brianmctaggart

HOUSTON -- Astros right-hander Collin McHugh, who's been out the entire season with a posterior impingement in his right elbow, will begin a Minor League rehab assignment for Double-A Corpus Christi against Northwest Arkansas on Friday.

"We'll take it every five days at a time, and we'll see what we're looking at," McHugh said. "We're still looking at post-All-Star break for a return to the big league team."

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HOUSTON -- Astros right-hander Collin McHugh, who's been out the entire season with a posterior impingement in his right elbow, will begin a Minor League rehab assignment for Double-A Corpus Christi against Northwest Arkansas on Friday.

"We'll take it every five days at a time, and we'll see what we're looking at," McHugh said. "We're still looking at post-All-Star break for a return to the big league team."

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McHugh threw in the bullpen at Minute Maid Park on Tuesday and will need about three or four rehab outings before being activated, if all goes well. His current timeline puts him on a similar path as he would be if he were starting Spring Training outings.

"We'll obviously start at a lower pitch count and work our way up and see how we progress and how my body reacts and responds," he said. "I feel good today after kind of a short simulated game this weekend. My arm has responded really well. That's really promising, and I'm hoping that we're definitely moving in the right direction."

McHugh came down with arm fatigue early in camp before working his way into a game, throwing 1 2/3 innings against the Cardinals on March 27 in his only Grapefruit League appearance. He was placed on the disabled list late in the spring with tendinitis in his right shoulder and then left his first rehab start for Triple-A Fresno on April 6 because of discomfort in his elbow.

Friday will mark his first appearance in a game in nearly three months.

"Being on the sidelines and watching this team be as special as they have been this year and do the things they have been doing, it makes you want to get out there and help and contribute," he said.

Meanwhile, right-hander Charlie Morton (strained lat) was scheduled to pitch three or four innings for Fresno on Tuesday and get up to 55 or 60 pitches and build up some arm strength and endurance.

With Lance McCullers Jr. having returned from the DL and Morton and McHugh on rehab, manager A.J. Hinch is encouraged.

"I'll feel better when it actually happens and it's not a theory or something we're looking forward to and it's actually something that's happening," Hinch said. "The first step with that happened when McCullers got healthy, and the next step is adding somebody to our rotation. Hopefully, Morton is next."

Brian McTaggart has covered the Astros since 2004, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter and listen to his podcast.

Houston Astros, Collin McHugh