MINNEAPOLIS -- The Rangers have officially scratched Cliff Lee from Tuesday's start against the Blue Jays because of a strained muscle in his lower back.
Lee, who reported more improvement and was able to throw a full bullpen session on Sunday without problem, could pitch on Tuesday, but the Rangers decided it would be better for him to skip the start.
"We're going to err on the side of caution," general manager Jon Daniels said.
Scott Feldman is the leading candidate to face the Blue Jays on Tuesday. Feldman, who is on the disabled list with a bone bruise in his right knee, allowed two runs in four innings in a rehab appearance on Wednesday against Triple-A Oklahoma City.
Feldman was supposed to pitch again on Sunday night for Oklahoma City but has been pulled. He is 6-9 with a 5.43 ERA in 20 starts and five relief appearances for the Rangers this season.
The Rangers haven't decided when Lee will pitch again. They could wait until Sunday, when his spot in the rotation comes up again. Daniels said that the club is not ruling out bringing back Lee earlier than that.
Colby Lewis, who pitches on Thursday against the Blue Jays, has been struggling lately, and the Rangers could replace him with Lee. That would give Lewis a few extra days of rest.
Lee has been bothered by the muscle for the past couple of weeks and is 0-3 with an 8.28 ERA in his last five starts. He had an injection last Thursday to relieve the pain and inflammation.
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.