KISSIMMEE, Fla. (AP) Right-hander Lance McCullers won't start the season in the Astros' rotation because of shoulder pain.
Manager A.J. Hinch made it official Wednesday. The 22-year-old McCullers has been shut down until the discomfort subsides in his throwing shoulder and did not pitch in a spring training game. An MRI taken Friday ruled out structural damage.
Hinch says that ''there's just not enough time to build him up to the role we anticipate him doing.''
McCullers went 6-7 in 22 starts as a rookie in 2015, posting a 3.22 ERA and 129 strikeouts in 125 2-3 innings.
McCullers' absence settles the Astros' season-opening rotation as Cy Young Award winner Dallas Keuchel, Collin McHugh, Doug Fister, Scott Feldman and Mike Fiers. Keuchel will start the opener April 5 against the Yankees in New York.