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Astros’ Lance McCullers continues to progress

NEW YORK — Lance McCullers will take part in the Astros’ opening day festivities Tuesday afternoon at Yankee Stadium.

Afterward, the touted 22-year-old righthander will head back to Florida and progress into the thick of his spring training regimen.

McCullers, whose mid-March shoulder soreness ensured he would start the regular season on the 15-day disabled list, will pitch Thursday in an extended spring training game at the Astros facility in Kissimmee, Fla. That outing, likely to last two innings, will set McCullers on a routine in which he will pitch the typical every fifth day, building up by an inning each outing.

Before rejoining the Astros’ rotation, he will pitch for one of the organization’s minor-league affiliates on an official rehab assignment.

McCullers threw 40 to 45 pitches in a bullpen session on Sunday at Yankee Stadium, where the Astros open the season this week. Inclement weather postponed the team’s opening day from Monday afternoon to Tuesday afternoon.

“I’m feeling really good,” McCullers said Monday. “At this point it’s more like checking off boxes, going through the normal progression that I would have gone through in spring training.”

This week marks McCuller’s third trip to Yankee Stadium but he has yet to pitch in the Bronx. His father, Lance Sr., pitched for the Yankees in 1989 and 1990, a few years before the Astros pitcher was born.

“I appreciate (manager A.J. Hinch) allowing me to come up here and be a part of this,” said McCullers, who posted a 3.22 ERA over 22 starts as a rookie last season. “Even though I won’t be on the active roster, it’s still nice to know I’m part of this team and get to experience my first opening day from the ballpark, especially here.”

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