Astros tab reliever Feldman to face Angels Tuesday
By Brian McTaggart
ANAHEIM -- Veteran right-hander Scott Feldman will return to the rotation to start Tuesday against the Angels in place of right-hander Lance McCullers, who has developed a blister on the tip of his right index finger.
It's unknown when McCullers would be inserted back into the rotation after Tuesday, but manager A.J. Hinch said Monday, "This isn't the 'sound the alarms.'"
Feldman made four starts in April to begin the season before being moved to the bullpen, so this will be his first start since April 24 against the Red Sox. He went 0-2 with a 4.58 ERA as a starter, but has flourished in relief, going 4-1 with a 1.85 ERA. In 24 1/3 innings, Feldman has allowed 21 hits, struck out 19 and walked only two as a reliever.
"He deserves the first crack at it," Hinch said. "It's a spot start and he'll be able to be stretched out a little bit depending on how efficient he is. He's pitched a lot in his career as a starter. It's not going to spook him at all. I'm glad we have Scott Feldman available to take on this role when something like this comes up."
McCullers started the season on the disabled list with right shoulder soreness and has made eight starts since his return in May, going 3-2 with a 3.91 ERA. Hinch said McCullers came down with the small blister following his previous start Wednesday against the Angels in Houston and has stopped his throwing program.
"We are erring on the side of caution with the All-Star break being 10 or 12 days away, and the availability of Scott Feldman to come in and spot start [makes it] a very simple decision for us to push him back a few," Hinch said.
McCullers could return to the rotation this weekend in Houston against the White Sox, or the Astros could wait until Monday, which would have been his normal day to pitch had he thrown Tuesday. Mike Fiers (Friday), Doug Fister (Saturday) and Collin McHugh (Sunday) are currently scheduled to throw against the White Sox.
Brian McTaggart has covered the Astros since 2004, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.