So, yeah. Take a little time off and s--- hits the fan and all of that.
The Rangers nearly made it to Memorial Day without being inclined or required to make a roster move, and the move that's stopping them short is a troubling one, as Neftali Feliz has been placed on the 15-day disabled list with right elbow inflammation (per Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram), and sidewinding right-hander Yoshinori Tateyama has been recalled from Triple-A Round Rock. It's unclear what, if anything, else has been revealed in today's MRI exam, as the only thing that's clear at this point is that Feliz complained of discomfort after his abortive start on Friday, and that the Rangers decided to shut him down out of an abundance of caution rather than allow him to attempt to work through it.
There are a couple of things that should be taken note of with this latest development: first, Tateyama is pretty decent. He's not necessarily decent enough to unseat any of the Rangers' existing seven relievers (and, obviously, the Rangers couldn't find a spot for him going into Opening Day), but he's a useful situational weapon against same-handed batters who should see at least a few appearances during Feliz's absence -- and, for that matter, is somebody capable of eating up a few innings if a situation calling for a long man should present itself, which becomes more of a necessity now that Scott Feldman figures to slide over to the rotation to cover for Feliz.
Second, this isn't the first time we've seen Feliz go down as a function of one arm-related problem or another. Right shoulder "soreness" took him out for 10 days back in May 2009. Right shoulder "inflammation" took him out for a 15-day window during April-May 2011. Right shoulder "tightness" prompted a temporary shutdown during 2012 spring training. (I imagine those injuries aren't as dissimilar in nature as their differing labels would suggest). And while this particular injury relates to Feliz's elbow rather than his shoulder, this doesn't have to be a significant long-term problem, or even something that absolutely has to keep him out beyond the 15-day minimum. We don't have enough information to make an accurate determination on how long he'll be out as of yet.
Third, this is going to get the Roy Oswalt rumor train chugging along again in full force, even if the Rangers truly are still adamant in their belief that there isn't a place for Oswalt here, and even if this turns out to be a case where Feliz is able to make it back to the hill sooner rather than later. Jon Heyman:
with neftali feliz going on d.l. today w/ elbow inflammation, have to ask: is roy oswalt a fit now? #rangers— Jon Heyman (@JonHeymanCBS) May 21, 2012
Could Oswalt be a fit? Yes, it's conceivable. It's conceivable that the Feliz problem is significant this time, that the Rangers are not high on rolling with Scott Feldman or Alexi Ogando or Martin Perez in his place over the duration of his extended absence, and that the team believes Oswalt would be an ideal on-the-fly solution to a potentially deleterious problem. I'd be awfully wary about completing too many projected jumps into the future with so little available information on Feliz at this point, though. I'd also be pretty iffy as far the Rangers' willingness to make a $10-12 million prorated commitment to Oswalt (which, at this point in the season, would add another $7-9 million of bulk to the Rangers' payroll), and I don't think I can imagine them doing so unless this really does turn out to be a season-threatening setback. Throwing that kind of money at what might only be, say, a six- to eight-week problem, doesn't make very much sense.
... unless of course, the Rangers are concurrently troubled by what they're seeing with Colby Lewis and/or Matt Harrison and/or Derek Holland. Nothing that I've seen with those three names to this point in the season has troubled me enough to merit a heated pursuit of Oswalt, but perhaps there's enough cumulative concern between those three names and Oswalt to ignite something on the Rangers' end. I wouldn't bet on that being the case, though.