McCullers amps up pitch count in shoulder rehab

Astros starter to throw in extended spring training Monday

McCullers amps up pitch count in shoulder rehab

OAKLAND -- Astros right-hander Lance McCullers came out of his most recent bullpen session in good shape and he'll take the next step toward returning to action on Monday when he throws again at extended spring training in Florida.

McCullers, who opened the season on the disabled list with shoulder soreness, is expected to throw between 60-75 pitches.

"That should be comfortable for him," Astros manager A.J. Hinch said. "He'll throw a bullpen after that and then possibly to rehab."

The 22-year-old was 6-7 with a 3.22 ERA in 22 starts last year in his rookie season with the Astros, pitching a career-high 125 innings.

Worth noting

• OF Carlos Gomez was in the starting lineup after X-rays revealed no structural damage on his right hand after being hit by a pitch Wednesday against the Mariners.

"After that, it's about the strength of his hand and his ability to grip the bat," Hinch said. "I trust him when he told me he was ready."

• Hinch said his bullpen has been overused and Thursday's off-day came at the right time.

"I still feel like we've used the bullpen to an extreme," he said. "Will Harris has thrown the most and these guys are used to throwing every other day or every third day."

Rick Eymer is a contributor for MLB.com and covered the Astros on Saturday. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.