Well, the starting rotation of the winningest team in baseball continues to remain in sort of a bad spot, and the news got even worse this afternoon as word flowed down from the Rangers beats that Colby Lewis, one of their borderline All-Star candidates, is hitting the 15-day disabled list with right elbow tendinitis. Martin Perez has been recalled from Triple-A Round Rock to occupy that newly created vacancy on the active roster, and Scott Feldman will now get the ball on Thursday as he re-enters the starting rotation picture. There's an spot of intrigue or two here (namely, the chance to see how a 21-year-old Perez fares at the big league level), but, yeah, this isn't good news at all.
Lewis was, of course, hit very hard by the Rockies this past Saturday, yielding eight runs (seven earned) on 12 hits in just four innings -- although in the process, he became the first pitcher in major league history to go four innings (or fewer) in a single start while allowing 12 or more hits, punching out six or more batters, and yielding no walks at all, so it was another one of those very DIPS-friendly efforts that was sullied by the allowance of lots of hits. Per Anthony Andro, Lewis felt he would only need to miss a single start with this injury, but the Rangers feel that it's a two-start issue, so they'll be looking for him to return to the rotation immediately after the All-Star break.
Feldman, meanwhile, returns to the rotation mix for what should be a couple of additional spot starts, effectively killing the rampant notion that he might be designated for assignment or traded in the immediate future. I appreciate the peripheral dominance that he exhibited late in his recent rotation run (18 strikeouts, one walk, and one home run allowed in his final three starts), and that alone has me feeling okay about this "promotion", but there were still issues with his pitch locations that contributed to him being BABIP'd to death, and I'm hoping to see some improvement in that regard as he tries to string together a couple of decent spot starts.
One thing that you still kind of wonder about is the timing of last night's bullpen events -- if the Rangers knew that things were going awry with Feldman and that he would probably be needed in a spot-starting capacity in three days, why was he warming up behind Justin Grimm at all? Was that a scheduled bullpen session or some such? And, yeah, it would probably behoove Feldman to keep his mouth shut and not overtly grouse some more about how being shifted between the bullpen and the rotation increases the chances of him being injured; even if that is the case (and I'm not sure you can empirically support that case with historical injury data), this is technically another temporary "promotion," the Rangers need him to do his best in this role right now, and he's being well compensated to do what the team asks him to do.
With Lewis on the shelf, Perez moves up into a long-relief role for at least the next couple of days, and, according to Anthony Andro, he is in the mix for the start on Saturday, which probably would have been a lock for Justin Grimm if not for last night's one-inning disaster. I assume this is all largely dependent on whether the Rangers actually end up needing a long reliever over the next four games (which are being started by Yu Darvish, Roy Oswalt, Scott Feldman, and Matt Harrison), because if they can all manage to hold up their respective ends of the bargain, and Perez remains good to go through Saturday, it may be that Grimm is flipped to long relief and Perez gets that spot start against Oakland.
In other news, Jon Daniels says that the Rangers are not looking for pitching on the trade market, because they believe that their guys will begin returning to action after the All-Star Break ... and FOXSports.com's Jon Paul Morosi is not-so-gently fanning the flames of speculation in the opposite direction:
So, yeah, here we go again. The fun never seems to end ...