Surgery for Pettis; DeFrancesco to step in

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HOUSTON — Astros third-base coach Gary Pettis will have surgery on his right knee on Wednesday, and Triple-A Fresno skipper Tony DeFrancesco will assume Pettis’ post with the Major League club until Pettis recovers, Astros manager A.J. Hinch said on Saturday.

DeFrancesco will begin coaching third on Tuesday, when the Astros open a six-game road trip with two games in Atlanta. He’ll remain with the club until the Astros finish the trip with a four-game set in Toronto preceding the All-Star break (July 10-13).

Pettis slipped on wet grass in Minnesota on May 28 during the Astros’ 11-run eighth inning, which had a brief rain delay.

“[Pettis] tore his meniscus in his knee and has been getting looked at by the doctors and getting all the treatment that he needs,” Hinch said. “He’s not moving around great, but [he was] moving enough to coach third. He’s going to [have surgery] with the idea that we can use the All-Star break as part of his recovery time. … Tony D will come and coach third and will seamlessly help us.”

Pitching notes

Collin McHugh returned to Houston early Saturday after throwing 42 pitches in one-plus innings for Double-A Corpus Christi on Friday. McHugh — who said on Saturday that he “feels no pain and normal soreness” following his first start vs. hitters since April 6 — allowed seven hits and four runs.

McHugh will make another rehab start on Wednesday for Corpus Christi and is expected to throw more than 50 pitches.

Dallas Keuchel, not yet medically cleared to throw off a mound, played catch again on Saturday. There is no timetable for him to work off the mound, Hinch said.

Charlie Morton will make his third rehab start on Sunday for Corpus Christi in Little Rock, Ark. Morton tossed 47 pitches in four scoreless innings and a controlled 15-pitch bullpen session on Tuesday for Triple-A Fresno. He’s expected to throw 70 to 85 pitches on Sunday.

Christian Boutwell is a reporter for based in Houston. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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