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Fulchino available to pitch after MRI

Fulchino available to pitch after MRI

HOUSTON -- Right-handed reliever Jeff Fulchino, who had allowed a run in six of eight outings entering the opener against the Rangers, was deemed available to pitch Friday after undergoing an MRI on his right elbow and being examined by Dr. Tom Mehlhoff earlier in the day. The MRI came back negative.

Astros general manager Ed Wade said Fulchino's right elbow had been bothering him, especially when he threw his breaking pitches. One of the Astros' most reliable relievers last year, Fulchino had a 7.92 ERA in his first 26 games.

"He's going to be available -- as far as I understand -- tonight and probably through the weekend," Astros manager Brad Mills said.

Fulchino, claimed off waivers by the Astros on Dec. 8, 2008, went 6-4 with a 3.40 ERA in a career-high 61 games last year and was named the Astros Rookie of the Year by the Houston chapter of the Baseball Writers' Association of America.

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