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.''
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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.