Morton, Musgrove set to rejoin Astros rotation

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ATLANTA — Charlie Morton‘s six-week stint on the disabled list will come to an end when he’s activated to start Friday for the Astros against the Blue Jays in Toronto. Morton last pitched May 24 against the Tigers, throwing seven strong innings before coming down with a strained lat that landed him on the disabled list.

Morton was 5-3 with a 4.06 ERA for the Astros in 10 starts, striking out 65 batters, allowing 56 hits and walking 23 batters in 57 2/3 innings. He made a pair of rehab starts at Triple-A Fresno, including four scoreless innings June 27, and one start at Double-A Corpus Christi on Sunday, when he allowed two unearned runs in 4 1/3 innings.

“I would just like to pitch again,” Morton said. “I’ll try to relax like everybody else during the [All-Star] break and then come back and get going again.”

Meanwhile, right-hander Joe Musgrove, who was demoted to Fresno after getting rocked for nine runs and 12 hits in 3 2/3 innings June 23 at Seattle, will be called up to start Wednesday’s series finale against the Braves in Atlanta.

Musgrove on disappointing start

Musgrove (4-7, 6.01 ERA) threw seven scoreless innings May 26 against Baltimore before going on the disabled list with right shoulder discomfort. He went 0-3 with a 10.29 ERA in his three starts for Houston after being activated.

“When we sent him down, we originally planned on considering bringing him back up for this series, either as a starter or a reliever, for the rest of the first half,” Astros manager A.J. Hinch said. “Then as it turned out, we needed a starter. An easy decision to get him back. When we sent him down, it was for a mental and physical break. We wanted him to work on some things.

“He only had one start down there, so I’m not sure physically how different he’ll feel, but mentally he was able to have a break and have a good game and walk away from a start feeling pretty good about himself. He was one of our best five [starters] when he started the season, so I can easily see him bouncing back.”

Other Astros pitchers are making progress as well. Right-hander Collin McHugh (elbow impingement) will make his second rehab start for Double-A Corpus Christi on Wednesday, and left-hander Dallas Keuchel (neck discomfort) could throw off the mound this weekend in Toronto, Hinch said.

That would set Keuchel in motion to make at least one Minor League rehab start in the next couple of weeks.

Brian McTaggart has covered the Astros since 2004, and for 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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