ST. LOUIS -- Doug Brocail was diagnosed with a right rotator cuff strain after being examined by Dr. David Lintner in Houston Saturday morning.
"It sounds as if there was no structural damage in the MRI," general manager Ed Wade said. "His shoulder looks the same as it did from the MRI he got in the offseason. He's got some type of inflammation, and it's going to be treated with medication, so we'll see how he feels when he gets back here. We'll play it by ear for the time being."
Brocail complained of shoulder soreness upon exiting after the seventh inning of the Astros' 5-3 loss to the Cardinals on Friday. The right-hander uncharacteristically walked three batters and gave up a home run in the outing.
"During that inning, he looked a little different," manager Cecil Cooper said. "We kind of noticed it and [pitching coach] Dewey [Robinson] went out and asked him, and he said he was OK. So we let it flow. But you could tell something wasn't quite right."
Brocail flew to Houston on Saturday morning to be examined by Dr. Lintner, and he was due back to St. Louis that night.
For now, Brocail, who turns 42 next month, will avoid the disabled list, but that is subject to change.
"Hopefully, it's only a couple of days," Wade said. "If it looks like it's going to be longer than that, we'll have to think about making a move. For the time being, I'll sit down and talk to Doug [Sunday] and get a sense of how he feels."
Referring to Brocail's tough-minded, win-at-all-costs mentality, Wade added, "I already have a pretty good idea how he's going to feel."
Should Brocail need more time to recover, the Astros have two viable options to replace him: right-handers Alberto Arias and Jeff Fulchino. The Astros are at capacity on their 40-man roster. If they were to add Bud Norris, Chad Paronto or Jose Capellan, they'd have to first remove someone who is already on the roster, which is unlikely.
Alyson Footer is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.