SEATTLE -- Astros closer Chad Qualls was unavailable again Wednesday as he battles some discomfort in his right hip that's radiating 6 inches down the side of his leg. Qualls has been dealing with the issue for five days, and when it didn't go away, team trainers prescribed rest.
"I don't know if it's a tight hip that's putting pressure on a nerve back there," Qualls said. "I get a warm feeling like in a 6-inch [region] down the side of my leg. When I sit down or lay down, it really doesn't hurt, and if I walk around, it gets irritated or something.
"I've never really had it before and I thought it would go away so I gave it a couple of days. It's not going away, so obviously talked to the trainers and try to get everything knocked out and get back out on the mound. That's obviously where I want to be."
Qualls hasn't pitched since blowing a save Saturday in Oakland against the A's, who have roughed him up this year. Josh Fields pitched a 1-2-3 ninth inning to earn the save in Tuesday's win over the Mariners and will be called upon to close in Qualls' absence. Fields hasn't allowed a run in nine innings in his last nine games.
"I just pitch whenever they tell me to," Fields said. "I feel like I kind of got a little bit seventh-, eighth-inning type of role here recently, and if Chad needs somebody to pick him up, I'll be glad to do it. He's the guy and that's his job. I can do it if need be, but I like throwing where I've been throwing and have been getting comfortable there. If it comes down to it and I have to pick Chad up, I like getting out there in the ninth inning."
Brian McTaggart is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, Tag's Lines. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.