Cliff Lee scratched from Tuesday start with back issue

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More bad news for Cliff Lee.

The left-hander has turned in an 8.28 ERA over his last four starts and is now being scratched from his scheduled Tuesday start due to a strained muscle on the right side of his lower back.  This according to MLB.com’s T.R. Sullivan.

Lee threw off a mound Sunday and showed improvement, but the Rangers don’t want to risk further injury.  They have nearly locked up a playoff spot for the first time since 1999 and having a healthy ace in October is crucial to postseason success.

Lee, 32, has posted a 10-8 record, a 3.37 ERA and a 1.08 WHIP in 24 total starts this season.  He’s fanned 161 batters in 184.1 innings and has walked only 12.

The Rangers may push him back until the weekend, when they have a big series with the Yankees.