Astros eye 5-man rotation with Feldman out

Right-hander felt shoulder discomfort after playing catch

Astros eye 5-man rotation with Feldman out

HOUSTON -- It appears the Astros will be without starting pitcher Scott Feldman for the near future. Just how long Feldman will be out won't be known until he's seen by a doctor, but that won't happen until Tuesday or Wednesday.

Whatever the case, the Astros will be back to a five-man rotation, perhaps for the rest of the season. Feldman's ailing right shoulder didn't respond well when he played catch on Saturday, and manager A.J. Hinch said Sunday Feldman wouldn't pitch on the 10-game road trip that begins Monday in Oakland.

Feldman left his start Tuesday with right shoulder discomfort and was diagnosed with inflammation after undergoing an MRI. He had pitched great coming off the DL following knee surgery, going 1-1 with a 2.36 ERA in seven starts prior to Tuesday.

"I'm always concerned when a guy has some discomfort," Hinch said. "Certainly, we're at the time of year you want all hands on deck and you want to have your guys ready. It's certainly discouraging to have him not feeling well playing catch."

The Astros have been using a six-man rotation for the past few weeks to ease the innings burden on some of the guys, like rookie Lance McCullers. Lefty Dallas Keuchel entered his start Sunday 7 1/3 innings shy of tying his career high of 200.

Hinch said the Astros will stick with five starters and have the advantage of a couple of off-days.

"Any time you lose somebody that's at the top of their game it's very difficult to absorb," he said. "We're lucky to have a good starting rotation with the other five guys. The next man will step up."

Worth noting

• Left-handed reliever Tony Sipp (back) will play catch in the next day or so to see if he's ready to start throwing. Even so, Hinch said it would take a couple of days of playing catch and a bullpen session before Sipp could be ready to return to action.

• Catcher Jason Castro, who's on the disabled list with a right quad strain, won't travel with the team on the next trip. He'll stay in Houston and work with physical therapist Matt Holland. Castro is eligible to come off the DL on Saturday, and Hinch said it would be based on how much baseball activity he can endure if he will be ready to be activated then.

Brian McTaggart is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, Tag's Lines. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.