Meche's scheduled Sunday start against the Red Sox will be taken by left-hander Bruce Chen. Right-hander Victor Marte was recalled from Triple-A Omaha to take Meche's spot on the roster.
The decision was made after Meche's shoulder didn't feel right after playing catch on Friday. He expressed the hope he'd miss just a couple of starts and then return to the rotation.
"In my last start, I never felt comfortable," Meche said. "The shoulder was bothering me the whole game, and it was just kind of a recurring thing from Spring Training."
In his last outing on Tuesday night against Texas, Meche pitched six innings and gave up six runs, all resulting from four homers.
Shoulder problems in training camp caused Meche to miss some Cactus League starts, and his first regular-season start was delayed several days, as he continued to recover. In nine starts, he was winless with a 0-4 record and a 6.66 ERA. A telling statistic: Meche allowed 34 bases on balls in 48 2/3 innings.
"I've been saying all along I don't walk this many guys," Meche said. "Even in the games I'm feeling good, I'm just not having the control. I'm not having the release points; I'm not getting on top of curveballs good. So that's probably a result of whatever's going on in my shoulder."
Meche said there has been recurring inflammation at the front of his right shoulder.
"We don't think it's anything serious," said pitching coach Bob McClure. "It's not anything in his joints, so that's encouraging."
Meche exhibited durability on May 8 when he pitched an eight-inning complete game in a loss to Texas, throwing 128 pitches, fourth-most in his career. On the other hand, he had two starts which lasted just 3 1/3 innings. The Royals have a 2-7 record in games he's started.
"There have been some starts where I have felt good, I just haven't pitched well," Meche said. "It's just a matter of evaluating it and see where I stand in a couple days."
Both McClure and Meche indicated the inflammation had hindered his pitching motion.
"It's just uncomfortable," Meche said. "It's not a biting pain. It's somewhat of a soreness, an impingement or whatever you want to call it. It does restrict range of motion. I haven't been able to get on top of curveballs and cutters and things like that, so it tells me something that's not positive."
Meche, signed to a five-year, $55 million contract prior to the 2007 season, made 34 starts in each of his first two seasons with the Royals, compiling a combined record of 23-24. However, in 2009, he encountered back problems in Spring Training and later had shoulder concerns that ended his season early with a 6-10 mark in 23 starts.
Chen has pitched 10 games out of the bullpen this season, with a 1-0 record and 2.89 ERA. The veteran has 121 big league starts with a 28-40 record and 4.70 ERA in that role.
Marte was with the Royals briefly earlier this season, appearing in one game. For Omaha, he has a 3-1 record, two saves and a 3.46 ERA in 14 relief appearances.
Dick Kaegel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.