- Associated Press - Wednesday, March 5, 2014

KISSIMMEE, Fla. (AP) - Houston Astros center fielder Dexter Fowler has been scratched from Wednesday’s start against the Detroit Tigers because of a stiff neck.

Fowler was slated to bat leadoff against Detroit right-hander Max Scherzer, but about 20 minutes before the scheduled first pitch, his departure from the lineup was announced.

Houston acquired Fowler in an offseason trade with the Colorado Rockies, hoping the 27-year-old outfielder can boost the team’s offense and provide leadership for the rebuilding Astros. Fowler hit .263 with 12 homers in 119 games for the Rockies last season.

He’s dealt with knee, abdomen and wrist problems in recent years, but the Astros described Wednesday’s removal as a precaution.

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