Astros' Lance McCullers Jr. takes another step toward return

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(SportsRadio 610) - Astros pitcher Lance McCullers Jr. threw around 37 pitches in two simulated innings Tuesday afternoon in Anaheim.

The simulated outing comes one week after McCullers, who has been sidelined with a strained right flexor tendon since the ALDS last season, threw 32 pitches at Minute Maid Park.

This is another step in what is sure to be a slow, monotonous process to ramp up one of the Astros' best pitchers.

Even without McCullers, the Astros have a surplus of starting pitchers: Justin Verlander, Framber Valdez (both All-Stars), Cristian Javier, Luis Garcia, Jose Urquidy and Jake Odorizzi.

At some point, Astros management will have to decide whether to redefine roles, or to part ways with someone ahead of the Aug. 2 MLB trade deadline.

McCullers signed a five-year, $85 million contract with Houston last year. Odorizzi signed a three-year, $23.5 million contract with Houston last year. All of the other pitchers besides Verlander are under club control through arbitration through either 2026 or 2027.

Brandon Scott is the editor for SportsRadio610.com. Follow him on Twitter @brandonkscottReach him directly via email: brandon.scott@audacy.com.

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