Dallas Keuchel's return to the Houston Astros might take a bit longer than expected.
The 29-year-old southpaw is taking it slower and easier as he continues to recover from a neck injury stemming from a nerve problem, Astros manager A.J. Hinch said.
Keuchel has been on the 10-day disabled list since June 8, his second stint in the span of a month. The 2015 MLB All-Star and American League (AL) Cy Young winner is yet to pitch off the mound, showing that the Astros would rather Keuchel have a little more time off than aggravate his neck injury.
"Dallas is doing well. He's continuing to progress," Hinch told reporters Sunday.
"I think we're going a little bit slower than maybe we even could or he could. [We're] just being conservative. We've worked so hard to get him to continue to progress with no setbacks that we want to just keep methodically putting a few more challenges in front of him and making him feel a little bit better and a little bit better."
It has not been officially ruled that Keuchel will not be back in time for the All-Star break, but he likely will not be pitching for the AL.
"We are reaching a point where we are going to have to be making a decision about the break," Hinch said.
"We're sort of in the grey area of whether or not we're going to be able to push him fast enough to get back before the break.
"We'll know in the next week or so."
Keuchel last started June 2 and has a 9-0 record and a 1.67 ERA with 69 strikeouts and only 18 walks in 75.5 innings.