ST. LOUIS -- General manager Ed Wade and manager Cecil Cooper met with right-hander Doug Brocail on Sunday morning and asked the pitcher for a little bit of honesty.
Brocail obliged, and as a result, the veteran right-hander was placed on the 15-day disabled list with the rotator cuff strain he was diagnosed with Saturday.
Wade asked Brocail point blank if he thought he'd be available to pitch by Wednesday. Brocail told Wade he'd probably need more time to recover, prompting the Astros to recall right-hander Jeff Fulchino from Triple-A Round Rock. Fulchino will be in uniform for the Astros when they play the Pirates in their home opener on Monday afternoon.
"We called Doug in and talked to him and asked him if he didn't pick up a ball today, tomorrow or Tuesday, where did he think he would be Wednesday?" Wade said. "He thought he wouldn't be far enough along to help us. He was honest with us, which is what we needed -- the truth at that point. We needed to know where he stood."
Brocail flew to Houston on Saturday to be examined by team doctors after complaining of shoulder soreness following an ineffective appearance against the Cardinals the night before. An MRI taken on the 41-year-old reliever's right shoulder showed inflammation, but no structural damage.
Despite his disappointment that he will be unavailable until the last game of the next homestand -- he'll be eligible to be activated from the DL on April 26 -- Brocail admitted he was concerned about the results of his latest exam.
"I'll be honest -- I was more worried about this one than when I blew out my elbow the second time," he said. "When you wake up and you can't get your arm up, and you struggle to get it out ... I'm a strike thrower. When I go out there and throw 13 straight balls, it's not good. At least this way, I can get all the swelling out, and once the swelling goes out, it'll keep the rotators from rubbing so bad."
Fulchino started for the Express on Saturday, but anticipating they may need him, the Astros put him on a strict pitch limit. Fulchino threw approximately 35 pitches over two innings, while Alberto Arias pitched the next 2 1/3 innings.
Brocail has been on the disabled list 13 times in his career. This is his first DL stint since 2007, when he was sidelined with a strained left gluteus muscle.
Alyson Footer is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.