So, as you've no doubt heard by now, we're looking at the following roster disturbances today:
● Derek Holland is heading to the 15-day disabled list with a fatigued left shoulder (which may or may not be directly tied to his prolonged stomach illness);
● Tanner Scheppers' contract is being purchased from Triple-A Round Rock, and he will join the Rangers' bullpen immediately;
● Alexi Ogando will start this coming weekend in place of Holland, and famously erratic left-hander John Gaub has been designated for assignment to clear room on the 40-man roster for Scheppers.
Holland will reportedly be examined by team physician Dr. Keith Meister on Friday, which you hope will confirm the preliminary diagnosis of shoulder 'fatigue' and not something more sinister in nature. The concerning thing about the Holland situation is that we've made this gradual progression from 'not injured' to 'weakened by illness' to 'on the disabled list for an undetermined period of time,' and while you'd certainly like to believe that he'll only be out for the minimum of 15 days, I wouldn't be flabbergasted at this point if this turned out to be something closer to a three- to four-week stint on the disabled list, as the Rangers' top focus is getting Holland back to the bump completely healthy.
Scheppers, meanwhile, was faring comparatively well at Round Rock, rebounding from an iffy spring showing in Surprise by throwing up excellent peripherals (8.4 K/9, 1.2 BB/9, 0.6 HR/9) with an ERA that doesn't quite match (3.72) over 29 innings. You would expect that the plan for Scheppers is to get his feet wet by way of a few low-leverage opportunities, and then determining where to go with him next based on his early body of work. I "snapped" a few .gifs from one of his performances last June in which you can sort of get a feel for his unorthodox windup and stuff; Scott Lucas does, however, note that his breaking ball of choice is now more of a slider than it is a curveball.
Ogando will get his first crack at starting a game since last September (which, as you might expect, he's kind of excited about), and the issue of how far he'll be able to go seems quite fluid, as Ron Washington doesn't want to 'put a number' on his pitch count, and Ogando suspects that he may be good for 60-70 pitches at most. The problem here -- even assuming that he fares well with the two-pitch arsenal and doesn't encounter any true performance difficulties -- is that you're not going to ramp Ogando up to 90-100 pitches overnight, which will force the bullpen to shoulder more of the workload than usual when that spot in the rotation comes around; there's a decent chance that Ogando doesn't get fully stretched out before Holland makes it back, so there's that to consider.
On a slightly brighter note: (a) the Roy Oswalt signing is looking better and better as time has gone by, and I know it has to be a relief to the organization to know that he's only a couple of weeks away from being ready, and (b) Ogando moving to the rotation frees up more high-leverage work for Koji Uehara, who now becomes the Rangers' seventh-inning guy while Ogando covers for Holland, and who has thoroughly stifled those who were ready to sell him for pennies on the dollar after his small-sample struggles in Texas last fall. He stumbled yet again back in April, but has been insanely good for the last month and a half, compiling 16 strikeouts against just two walks and one homer over his last 16.1 innings, and throttling opposing batters to the tune of .094/.125/.170.
That doesn't make Uehara impervious to further struggles here and there, but all indications point to him finally having found his comfort level in Texas -- and while it's theoretically possible that he'll lose his mojo again after being transitioned back into consistently higher-leverage spots (his average leverage index over his last 16.1 innings has been a miniscule 0.37, which definitely suggested a need to enhance his role), I'm feeling as good about Uehara at this point as I am about anyone else in this bullpen.