Yesterday, the Texas Rangers confirmed their starting rotation, which includes C.J. Wilson, Colby Lewis, Matt Harrison, Derek Holland and Tommy Hunter. Just a couple of short hours after being named in the starting rotation, there was a surprise that no one could have anticipated and it couldn’t have come at a worse time – Hunter left Thursday’s Cactus League game against the Cincinnati Reds early with a groin strain.
Right-hander Hunter will be examined by the team’s physician to determine how severe the right groin strain actually is. He had an MRI Thursday but the results won’t be known until sometime today. Hunter has already had issues this spring by not having the best of stats. His ERA raised to 10.97 for the spring after Thursday’s innings allowing a total of five runs on six hits.
This isn’t the first time that Hunter would be left off the rotation at the start of the season. Back in 2009, it was late June before he was recalled from AAA for a spot start after suffering a groin injury and then in 2010, he wasn’t able to start the season until early June after suffering a oblique strain late in camp. However, in 2010, he finished the season with an ERA of 3.73 after going 13-4 in 128 innings.
If for some reason the 24-year-old righty is unable to start the 2011 MLB season, Michael Kirkman is likely to be called up from AAA Round Rock after just being sent down yesterday morning. However, there are still a couple of other options including veteran RHP Dave Bush, who could become a free agent if he is not included on the Rangers Opening Day roster. Whoever it is that comes and takes Hunter’s spot in the rotation will only be filling in for a few weeks – probably four at the most.
Regardless of the groin strain, right now, Hunter does not believe he’ll get his name on the 15-day disabled list. He believes he’ll be ready come April 1 although he probably won’t pitch until a couple of days after, but depending on the severity of the strain, he’s probably going to start the season on the DL whether he wants to or not.
He is scheduled to be re-evaluated sometime today.