McCullers missed two starts after going on the DL on June 12 with a back issue. General manager Jeff Luhnow had said the team didn’t expect McCullers to be out long.
The third-year veteran, with a 6-1 record and 2.58 ERA in 13 starts in 2017, threw a bullpen session Monday that went “great,” according to Hinch. McCullers is expected to throw once more before Saturday.
McCullers is one of four Astros starters currently on the disabled list. Ace Dallas Keuchel (neck) and right-hander Charlie Morton (lat) are on the 10-day DL, while Collin McHugh (elbow) is on the 60-day DL and has not pitched this season.
Brad Peacock had been slated to pitch Saturday but is now scheduled for Sunday. His start, however, could be canceled, as his wife is expecting their first child any day. Francis Martes is lined up as Peacock’s potential replacement.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.