Astros' Lance McCullers: Will transition to bullpen role

Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow confirmed Sunday that McCullers (forearm) would work out of the bullpen upon returning from the 10-day disabled list, Chandler Rome of the Houston Chronicle reports.

Luhnow's comments came shortly after manager A.J. Hinch relayed earlier in the day that McCullers wouldn't be cleared to throw off a mound "any time soon" after failing to make the expected progress in his recovery from the right forearm strain. While the Astros anticipate that McCullers will be ready to come off the DL in September, the right-hander won't have sufficient time to build up to a starter's workload. As a result, McCullers wll instead prepare for what will presumably be a multi-inning role out of the bullpen, where his mid-90s fastball could play up even more and make him a major weapon for Houston. Since the Astros were likely planning to reduce their rotation to four men during the playoffs anyway, McCullers' transition to relief might have been in the works even if he hadn't sustained an injury.

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