Sports

Houston ace Keuchel placed on DL with pinched nerve in neck

FILE - In this Friday, May 5, 2017, file photo, Houston Astros starting pitcher Dallas Keuchel walks toward the dugout after the second inning of a baseball game against the Los Angeles Angels, in Anaheim, Calif. The Astros have placed Keuchel on the 10-day disabled list with a pinched nerve in his neck. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong, File)

FILE - In this Friday, May 5, 2017, file photo, Houston Astros starting pitcher Dallas Keuchel walks toward the dugout after the second inning of a baseball game against the Los Angeles Angels, in Anaheim, Calif. The Astros have placed Keuchel on the 10-day disabled list with a pinched nerve in his neck. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong, File)

HOUSTON — The Houston Astros placed ace Dallas Keuchel on the 10-day disabled list with a pinched nerve in his neck on Saturday.

Keuchel noticed the problem on Wednesday morning after allowing four hits and two runs in a season-low five innings of a 12-2 win over the Marlins on Tuesday.

"We hope that this can knock out any sort of lingering soreness," manager A.J. Hinch said. "I'm not a doctor. I don't know what has to happen between now and then other than the diagnosis is a pinched nerve and we need to calm it down a little bit before he can resume his activity."

Keuchel, the 2015 American League Cy Young Award winner, has brushed off a tough 2016 season by opening this year 7-0 with a 1.84 ERA to help the Astros to the best record in the majors. The left-hander has the lowest ERA in the majors and his wins are the most in the AL and tied for most overall.

The move is retroactive to May 17, and the Astros are optimistic that he will only miss one start.

"Given the day off that we had and the nine games that he's going to miss, there's a chance that he could be right in rotation as we would have expected him to be," Hinch said. "But I won't know until he does a little bit more activity."

While certainly disappointed to be without his best pitcher for any amount of time, Hinch was pleased that Keuchel came to them as soon as he noticed the problem. In the past he has sometimes tried to pitch through problems instead of taking a step back.

"This is not easy for Dallas because No. 1 he loves making all of his starts and No. 2 he feels like he's Superman, he can do anything and pitch through anything ... so (I'm) very happy that he's honest with us with how he felt," Hinch said.

"Obviously we don't want him to miss a start. He's going to miss a start, but better than this lingering for a longer period of time."

The Astros will move right-hander Brad Peacock out of the bullpen to make Keuchel's scheduled start on Monday. Peacock is 2-0 with a 1.10 ERA in 12 appearances this season. He has bounced between starting and the bullpen in his career and started five games for Houston last season and 46 in his six-year major league career.

To take Keuchel's place on the roster the Astros recalled left-hander Ashur Tolliver from Triple-A Fresno. He has a 2.70 ERA in 10 relief appearances for the Grizzlies this season.

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