The Rangers have announced that closer Eric Gagne will begin the season on the 15-day disabled list.
The team insists it is not injury related and that they want Gagne, who underwent back surgery on July 8, 2006 and Tommy John elbow reconstruction surgery on June 24, 2005, to simply have more time to get ready for the season.
The plan is to get Gagne into at least seven minor league games, including back-to-back appearances on April 6-7 with Double-A Frisco. If all goes well, his final rehab assignment will be on April 10. Then, he would join the team and be activated on April 13 in Seattle.
In the meantime, Akinori Otsuka will return to the closer role he held for most of last season while Kameron Loe and Joaquin Benoit will assist filling in Otsuka's eighth-inning role.
I repeat: Eric Gagne is not hurt. Please keep your razor blades away from your wrists. Thank you.