ANAHEIM -- Astros right-hander Lance McCullers Jr., who came off the disabled list Wednesday in Seattle in his first start in more than month, was scratched from his scheduled start Wednesday against the Angels with what manager A.J. Hinch called "arm fatigue."
McCullers, while playing catch in the outfield prior to Tuesday's game, reported the condition to team trainers and was promptly scratched. Mike Fiers will instead start for Houston. McCullers said he could have pitched Wednesday.
"I feel fine," he said. "Yeah, I didn't bounce back as good as we were hoping the last outing, but I tossed today and said I was good to go and what not. It wasn't my call. It was over my head. That's the decision that was made."
McCullers has been on the disabled list twice this year with back discomfort, from June 9-24 and July 31-Wednesday, when he held the Mariners to three runs and four hits in 5 1/3 innings. McCullers said his arm is reminiscent of something pitchers typically go through in Spring Training.
"The long layoff and only one or two bullpens before I got back in the rehab start -- the rehab starts, you're out there just to be here, to log the innings, to get the pitch count going," he said. "It's not really an intense-type situation. It's more of like just be there to be there, and when you get back in the game and you're throwing those intense pitches and I didn't bounce back over the week. I didn't throw my bullpen type of thing. It was more of them [saying], 'Hey, we got plenty of guys ready to start. You're dealing with a little bit of arm fatigue and we're going to skip you.'"
Hinch said he's not overly concerned about McCullers' condition.
"He's not concerned, which makes me not concerned," he said. "Obviously, it doesn't feel good to have to scratch him, but we're going to continue to be conservative with him especially. He's had an up-and-down year dealing with stuff, but when we reported he had a little bit of symptoms playing catch today, we were going to scratch him."
Fiers (8-9, 4.78 ERA in a team-high 27 starts) was removed from the rotation Sept. 4 following the trade for Justin Verlander and McCullers' activation from the DL. He made his first relief appearance of the season Friday in Oakland, allowing two runs in one inning.
In his last eight starts, he was 1-5 with a 7.90 ERA. Fiers was terrific in his 10 previous starts to that, going 4-2 with a 2.16 ERA during a stretch where the Astros had starters Dallas Keuchel, McCullers, Charlie Morton and Collin McHugh on the disabled list at various points.
Brian McTaggart has covered the Astros since 2004, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.