Keuchel, McCullers near throwing programs

Keuchel, McCullers near throwing programs

HOUSTON -- The Astros' players who are on the disabled list continue to make progress, including pitchers Dallas Keuchel and Lance McCullers Jr. Astros manager A.J. Hinch said Friday they're both close to starting to play catch to gauge their injuries.

Keuchel, who went on the 10-day DL on June 5 with neck discomfort, could begin playing catch in the next day or two, he said. Keuchel said he's feeling good noted that being able to throw a baseball soon to test his injury is "exciting news."

"I'm just trying to get better," Keuchel said. "I don't like missing time. Like I said, in the first place, it's not fun for me to show up to the park and not be able to help the guys out there. If I could get out there [in a game] and in the next week or eight or nine days, it would be great."

McCullers, on the DL since June 9 with lower back discomfort, was also scheduled to start throwing this weekend.

"In my shoes, it's kind of wait and see all the time when guys are coming off of injuries, small or big," Hinch said. "We'll watch these guys play catch and then we'll meet with the medical team and assess what's next."

Outfielder Josh Reddick, who's on the seven-day DL with a mild concussion, said he expects to come off the disabled Tuesday, which would be the first day he could be eligible.

"That will be good, because I'm tired of hanging in the clubhouse and doing nothing," Reddick said. "I feel like [Thursday] was a good day -- no symptoms whatsoever. Today, I woke up with no symptoms and I'm feeling good, so we'll see how everything goes when the workouts are done but everything is right on track."

Right-hander Charlie Morton, on the DL since May 25 with a right lat strain, threw 15 pitches in the bullpen Friday, took a break and then threw another 20-plus pitches. The break was to simulate the break between innings. He'll throw another bullpen session on Monday and then graduate to a Minor League rehab start.

"These past few years have been frustrating," Morton said. "I guess I've kind of accepted it. I've gotten hurt and I'll probably get hurt again. I don't know. I'll go with percentages. But I'll bust my tail to get back and do what I have to do to help the team."

Right-hander Collin McHugh, who's been out since the end of Spring Training with a posterior impingement in his right elbow, also threw in the bullpen Friday. Hinch compared McHugh's recovery timeline to the start of Spring Training, which means he'll throw maybe one more times in the bullpen and graduate to batting practice once or twice before making a rehab start.

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.