Houston Astros manager A.J. Hinch has announced the upcoming starting rotation for the Orioles series in Baltimore. The one surprise was RHP Collin McHugh will make his 2017 season debut on Saturday.
Hinch announces that Collin McHugh will start Saturday's game in Baltimore. pic.twitter.com/aoe6C2FAr2— Houston Astros (@astros) July 18, 2017
McHugh, 30, has been the 60-Day disabled list since basically Spring Training dealing with what has been called a “dead arm”. The Astros limited his throwing at the start of the season before he made five rehab starts (4 with Double-A Corpus Christi and 1 with Triple-A Fresno).
In his one start in Fresno, he allowed three runs on three hits over one inning. In four starts with Corpus, he allowed 10 runs (six earned) on 18 hits over 15 innings. In his most recent start, he allowed one unearned run on four hits over six innings on July 16 against Frisco.
McHugh has been arguably the second-best pitcher in the Astros rotation before the 2017 season. He was 32-17 over 65 starts with a 4.12 ERA. He had an xFIP around 4.00 in back-to-back seasons (3.91, 4.09). He has averaged an fWAR of over 3.0 all three seasons have been with the Astros.
To make room for McHugh, Joe Musgrove will move to the bullpen. Musgrove made the opening day starting rotation but has tailed off in recent months. He has given up 20 earned runs over his last 22 innings.