In 2011, YOUR Texas Rangers went the entire 162 game season and playoffs without any of their starting pitchers missing significant time due to an injury. It was a remarkable occurence that YOU don’t typically see with the long grind that is the MLB schedule.
Until today, the Rangers had not placed a single player on the DL over the season’s first 42 games. Not only did that streak come to an end, but the Ranger that was sent to the DL was Neftali Feliz. That means that they will not repeat last year’s unusual feat.
While the injury does not appear to be serious at this time, the Rangers are going to take things very slow for Feliz’s rehab and are saying that there is a chance that Nefti might not return until sometime around the All Star Break.
Now the question is what do the Rangers decide to do with Feliz’s spot in the rotation, and how does that move subsequently have an impact on what has been the MLB’s best bullpen (2.13 ERA, WHIP)?
The options look to be either move Scott Feldman or Alexi Ogando into the spot vacated by Nefti, or go and sign the veteran Roy Oswalt who is still sitting on the free agent market.
The immediate decision made by the Rangers is to have Feldman pitch in place of Nefti on Wednesday. The Rangers have also called up Yoshi Tateyama from AAA to fill Nefti’s spot on the active roster. This means that Robbie Ross will more than likely act as the long man if he is needed, and Koji Uehara becomes the most likely bullpen arm called in to face lefties (.080 BA, 0.26 WHIP, and 8 K against LH).
It doesn’t appear that the Rangers will even consider moving Orgando out of his role as 7th/8th inning reliever, as he has been a total beast in that role (1.13 ERA, 0.67 WHIP, and 25 K).
The news has also surfaced in the last several hours that Nolan Ryan plans to talk to Jon Daniels about signing Roy Oswalt as the long term answer to the Feliz injury.
This move makes sense because it allows the Rangers to preserve the long term roles that have worked out exceptionally well for them this year, and wouldn’t ask them to rely on Koji Uehara too many times in key situations. While Koji has pitched very well lately, he still has the infamous reputation of allowing 10 HR (regular and post season) since being traded to the Rangers last year hanging over his head.
The only thing that I see keeping this from being the option that the Rangers eventually settle on is how much side work Oswalt will need before he is ready to start in an MLB game.
If it’s a few weeks, then Oswalt should be able to step in and give enough stability to the rotation and bullpen so that the Rangers don’t feel rushed to get Nefti off of the DL before they feel he is ready.
How do YOU think this will play out?