McHugh will most likely pitch out of the bullpen after manager A.J. Hinch set his starting rotation for the regular season, Glenn Sattell of MLB.com reports.
Once the Astros acquired Gerrit Cole from the Pirates, moving McHugh to the pen became the likely domino to fall out of the rotation. Hinch said the rotation will be Justin Verlander, Dallas Keuchel, Lance McCullers, Cole and Charlie Morton. "We want to continue to lengthen him out," Hinch said. "He's going to pitch a little more regularly as if we're planning for the bullpen." McHugh made a couple of spring starts, but was used twice in the span of four days out of the pen this past week. He'll be the first in line for a spot start, but could also be used in a trade should Houston want an upgrade elsewhere on the roster or a more seasoned relief arm.