McHugh (elbow) plays catch in injury rehab

'Hopefully this is a sign of good things to come,' Astros righty says

McHugh (elbow) plays catch in injury rehab

ANAHEIM -- Astros right-hander Collin McHugh began the long trip back to action Friday afternoon when he played catch for the first time since the end of Spring Training, when he was shut down for six weeks with a posterior impingement in his right elbow. McHugh threw lightly at 45 feet at Angel Stadium.

This is the start of a long progression for McHugh, similar to building up arm strength in Spring Training. He will throw every other day for the time being.

"Everything's just play it by ear at this point to see how the arm reacts and how I feel," McHugh said. "I felt good. The body feels good. We're going to monitor how my body reacts to it and go from there. We haven't really put together a timetable of when we really want to ramp it or when we want to be on the mound by or when we want to play on games by. Hopefully this is a good sign of things to come."

McHugh was placed on the DL late in the spring with right shoulder tendinitis and then left his first rehab start in the season opener at Triple-A Fresno on April 6 because of discomfort in his elbow. He came down with arm fatigue early in spring camp and had worked his way into a game, throwing 1 2/3 innings against the Cardinals on March 27 in his only Grapefruit League appearance.

"You get a ball in your hand again and do the thing that you're getting paid to do, at least to a small extent," McHugh said. "It feels good. Obviously, it's going to be a slow process, but hopefully we're headed in the right direction."

Worth noting

• Right-handed reliever Jandel Gustave, who's been on the disabled list since April 19 with right forearm tightness, was sent back to Houston on Friday to be examined by team doctors after a live bullpen session Thursday at Triple-A Fresno saw him suffering recurring arm soreness.

"He's no longer trending towards a rehab assignment," Hinch said. "He was. He threw a live BP in anticipation of going on a rehab assignment."

• Outfielder Teoscar Hernandez, who suffered a lower leg bruise in a collision with Jose Altuve in Cleveland 10 days ago, is in Fresno working toward a rehab assignment, Hinch said.

Brian McTaggart has covered the Astros since 2004, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.