Keuchel lined up to return Saturday from DL

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HOUSTON — The Astros are expecting ace Dallas Keuchel to be activated from the 10-day disabled list Saturday and start against the Orioles. Astros manager A.J. Hinch on Friday stopped short of saying for certain that Keuchel would be activated, but all signs point toward his return.

“We’re expecting him to,” Hinch said. “Obviously, we can’t do anything until tomorrow, but we have a full expectation he’s going to be able to start tomorrow. We’ll have to make a transaction in the morning, but I would say ‘yes’ at this point.”

Keuchel (7-0, 1.84 ERA) was placed on the 10-day disabled list following his May 16 start in Miami with a pinched nerve in his neck. If he pitches Saturday, he would have missed just one start (Monday against the Tigers).

“I felt really good,” Keuchel said. “I don’t like to miss any time in general. I’m a very routine-oriented guy, and I like to do my job correctly and make sure I’m doing my part helping guys out, and not being able to do that has really put me, not in a bad mindset, but not the best. It makes me happy when I get to go out there and compete and hopefully do my job correctly. We’ll see if it happens tomorrow.”

The Astros are 8-1 this season in games started by Keuchel, and he’s 3-0 with a 0.94 ERA at Minute Maid Park, allowing three runs, six walks and 15 hits in 28 2/3 innings while striking out 24. Keuchel’s return to the rotation coincides with Brian McCann — who’s caught each of Keuchel’s nine starts — coming off the concussion DL.

“He’s cleared all the tests he needs to clear and all set to be activated tomorrow,” Hinch said of McCann.

Brian McTaggart has covered the Astros since 2004, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


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