McHugh will make Grapefruit League debut Monday

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WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — Right-hander Collin McHugh, who’s been behind in his throwing program this spring after coming down with “dead arm” earlier in camp, will start Monday’s game against the Cardinals, marking his first Grapefruit League start of the spring.

Astros manager A.J. Hinch doesn’t believe McHugh will be ready to start the regular season, meaning he could be on the disabled list on Opening Day. That would mean both Mike Fiers and Joe Musgrove would make the rotation, but McHugh should only miss one or two turns through the rotation before he’s ready, if he keeps progressing.

“I’m still anticipating him not being ready for the season,” Hinch said. “Volume-wise …Collin’s still pretty far behind.”

McHugh, who threw 41 pitches in three innings in a Minor League game on Wednesday, will go three or four innings against St. Louis.

“It will increase his intensity,” Hinch said. “Any time you get into the stadium, it’s just different than the back fields, so we’ll get a little bit of a better read on where his readiness is. He’s still a couple of sessions behind, but we hope the night game in the stadium will give us a better baseline of where he’s at.”

Hinch laid his rotation for the rest of Spring Training: Opening Day starter Dallas Keuchel will throw on Tuesday against the Marlins, followed by Fiers on Wednesday against the Marlins, Lance McCullers Jr. on Thursday against the Cubs in Houston and Joe Musgrove on Friday against the Cubs in Houston, which is the Astros’ final exhibition game.

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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