Yesterday, per everyone in the Twitterverse, the Rangers placed RHP Alexi Ogando on the disabled list (biceps), which came just a day after a 6-inning, 2-run performance in Oakland.
To supplement the transaction, reliever Cory Burns was recalled from Triple-A Round Rock, though the general thinking is that he’ll be sent down in a few days to make room for Josh Lindblom, who will start Monday against the A’s.
As for Ogando’s DL stint, at least least ostensibly, it seems to be a move the Rangers are making to give his arm some rest. With a 7-game lead on the division, they are afforded this luxury, even though it also means that Yu Darvish and Derek Holland are the only bonafide pitchers in the rotation.
For the next two weeks it looks like we’ll be rolling with Darvish, Holland, Lindblom, Nick Tepesch, and Justin Grimm. If you are keeping track at home, those are the Rangers’ #1, #3, #7, #8, and #9 starting pitcher options.
As it stands, the Rangers have the best record in baseball (27-14), the largest division lead in the Majors by a substantial margin (+7.0 games), and yet remain lightyears away from full strength. To date, Ogando, LHP Matt Harrison, RHP Colby Lewis and LHP Martin Perez have all spent time on the disabled list.
Catcher A.J. Pierzynski is also there. His absence from the lineup is understated because the Rangers have continued winning, but overall it’s a better team with AJP catching.
To add onto the list, reinforcements are still on the way in the bullpen and from the Minor Leagues. Look for Jurickson Profar and Mike Olt to have some kind of role on the club by the end of July, and for pitchers Joakim Soria and Neftali Feliz to make some sort of appearance, though it’s debatable how effective they will each be coming off Tommy John surgery.
With all the injuries, all the Rangers need to do is survive. At least right now. They’ve banked a sizable enough lead on the AL West that they can slow-play some of their arms, making sure they don’t haphazardly rush them back into action.
It’s a good position to be in, but at the same time there is much work left to be done in securing a division they failed to capture in 2012.