Astros tweak rotation to give Keuchel rest

Fister gets call for Friday's series opener at Rangers

Astros tweak rotation to give Keuchel rest

HOUSTON -- The Astros shuffled their rotation for this weekend's pivotal series against the Rangers by announcing right-hander Doug Fister would start Friday's opener in Arlington in place of left-hander Dallas Keuchel, who manager A.J. Hinch said is dealing with fatigue.

Keuchel, who shut out the Rangers on Aug. 5 to snap a three-game losing streak to Texas, will instead pitch on Saturday or Sunday, Hinch said. A determination will be made Friday. Fister was originally scheduled to pitch Saturday, with rookie Joe Musgrove going Sunday.

"We're going to do that for two reasons," Hinch said. "One is it keeps Fister on regular rotation. He's a guy we wanted to keep on regular rotation; we like the way he comes back when he's on regular rest. And No. 2, this time of season, all of our guys deal with fatigue. Dallas is going through a little thing here where he's got a little bit of fatigue where we'd like to give him an extra day, and he'll go on Saturday or Sunday."

Keuchel, last year's American League Cy Young Award winner, has quietly put together a strong second half, going 6-3 with a 3.47 ERA in 12 starts since June 18, including 10 quality starts. He's thrown 168 innings this year after last year's career-high workload of 246 innings, including the postseason.

Keuchel, who last pitched on Saturday against the Rays, has a 4.95 ERA this year on five days of rest and 4.91 ERA on at least six days of rest. Keuchel said it was just precautionary, and he's simply had a little bit more soreness than usual.

"I don't think there's anything other than a just [an extra] day of rest," Keuchel said.

Brian McTaggart has covered the Astros since 2004, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.