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Houston Astros activate Lance McCullers for start vs. Texas Rangers

MLB rotation rankings
May 11, 2021; Houston, Texas, USA; Houston Astros starting pitcher Lance McCullers Jr. (43) pitches against the Los Angeles Angels in the fourth inning at Minute Maid Park. Mandatory Credit: Thomas Shea-USA TODAY Sports

The Houston Astros activated right-hander Lance McCullers Jr. from the 10-day injured list in time to start Tuesday night’s game against the visiting Texas Rangers.

McCullers, who last pitched on May 22 — also against Texas — because of right shoulder inflammation, will begin an abbreviated outing and eventually give way to right-hander Jake Odorizzi in a plan shared by manager Dusty Baker over the weekend.

In an oddity, Tuesday’s start will mark McCullers’ third consecutive start against the Rangers. The 27-year-old has allowed three runs over 11 innings in his previous pair of meetings with Texas this season, with 12 strikeouts and six walks in two no-decisions.

The 2017 All-Star threw 64 pitches in a rehab start with Triple-A Sugar Land on Thursday and declared he was ready to rejoin the Astros rotation.

In nine starts this season, the Astros’ 2012 first-round pick is 3-1 with a 2.96 ERA. He is 35-26 with a 3.63 ERA in 103 career games — 100 starts — with Houston.

The Astros also activated catcher Jason Castro from IL after he battled left Achilles soreness. Castro, who turns 34 on Friday, has been out since May 23 and is hitting .271 with two homers and eight RBIs in 20 games this season.

To make room on the roster, Houston optioned catcher Garrett Stubbs and right-hander Nivaldo Rodriguez to Sugar Land. Stubbs, 28, went 3-for-15 with an RBI in five appearances with the Astros, while the 24-year-old Rodriguez has pitched in four relief outings in Houston this season — giving up two runs and four hits over 7 1/3 innings.

–Field Level Media