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Houston Astros Player News: Last 24 hours, All Positions

News: Paulino (elbow) is expected to begin a throwing program within the next day or two, MLB.com's Brian McTaggart reports.
Impact: Paulino is set to open the season on the disabled list after he was sidelined since March 10 with a bone bruise in his right elbow, but it sounds like three weeks of rest have helped remedy the issue. He'll likely remain at extended spring training for a few weeks while he works to increase his pitch count, and could make rehab appearances at a few of the Astros' lower-level affiliates before likely settling into the Triple-A Fresno rotation. Paulino, who is one of the team's top pitching prospects, could be a rotation option for the Astros at some point later in 2017 if injuries hit the big-league staff.
News: McHugh (arm) is scheduled to throw a simulated game Saturday in Florida, MLB.com's Brian McTaggart reports.
Impact: The Astros have already indicated that McHugh will open the season on the 10-day DL after he was slowed by a case of dead arm in spring training, and the right-hander is still in the process of building up his pitch count. After being tagged for three runs and five hits over 1.2 innings Monday against the Cardinals, McHugh looks like he still has some issues to resolve, so he'll toss approximately 75 pitches Saturday before the Astros reassess his condition. If the simulated game goes well, McHugh is expected to head to a minor-league affiliate for one start next week before being activated. Mike Fiers looks most at risk of losing his rotation spot once McHugh is deemed ready to go.
News: Perez will open the season in extended spring training, Jake Kaplan of the Houston Chronicle reports.
Impact: It's an effort by the club to strategically build up his arm strength heading into his first full season of competition. The 20-year-old pitched in his first minor league spring game Sunday, impressing with a fastball that topped out at 96 mph, but will likely need more time to adjust before joining an affiliate team.
News: Manager A.J. Hinch confirmed Wednesday that he would use Bregman has his No. 2 hitter to begin the season, Jake Kaplan of the Houston Chronicle reports.
Impact: Bregman has occupied that slot in the batting order for much of the spring, so Hinch's announcement doesn't come as a major surprise. The third baseman, who will turn 23 years old Thursday, struggled out of the gate in his first exposure to big-league pitching last summer, but closed the season out on a high note, delivering a .264/.313/.478 slash line over 217 plate appearances. Bregman flashed some burgeoning pop between the minors and big leagues last season to go with his impressive hit tool, and a cushy spot in the lineup between George Springer and Jose Altuve should allow him to rack up runs in his sophomore campaign.
News: Keuchel allowed three runs on six hits and two walks while striking out four over 4.2 innings in Tuesday's game against the Marlins, Brian McTaggart of the Astros' official site reports.
Impact: Compared to Keuchel's other spring outings, Tuesday's was a bit of a slog for the left-hander. He needed 90 pitches and had a few stressful innings. Working with runners on and putting the body through a little stress can be a good thing sometimes, however. Despite Tuesday's results, Keuchel has had a good spring, and he'll be taking the ball Opening Day in Houston against Seattle on April 3.