By Brett Dolan

One of the few question marks entering spring training for the Astros was the health of pitcher Dallas Keuchel. The 2015 Cy Young Award winner didn’t pitch last September and completed the 2016 campaign with a 9-12 record and 4.55 ERA.

Keuchel admitted this spring that he didn’t feel right early last season and struggled before shoulder soreness ended his year.

His manager, A.J. Hinch is happy where Keuchel is at after logging 4 2/3 innings Tuesday against the Marlins.

“He is completely talking about competing and making pitches and pitch selection and the shape of his cutter, all things that are baseball oriented, not rehab oriented,” Hinch explained. “He made a couple of bad pitches today but he is ready to go.”

Keuchel allowed three earned runs in his outing against Miami including a home run to Giancarlo Stanton.

Keuchel admitted he had a few stressful innings.

“But it was good to see the body kind of take a little stress and pull through it with 90 pitches and up and down five times so I am ready to go,” he said.

In all, Keuchel pitched 16 2/3 spring innings, allowing five earned runs, walking three and striking out ten. He is set to start on Opening Day, Monday against the Seattle Mariners at Minute Maid Park.

“We like Florida,” Keuchel added. “But at the same time we are ready to get back and get some of those Houston bright lights.”

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