Rangers: Jose Leclerc Nearing Return Could Mean Bullpen Changes Soon

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Apr 29, 2017; Arlington, TX, USA; Texas Rangers relief pitcher Jose Leclerc (62) delivers to the plate in the seventh inning against the Los Angeles Angels at Globe Life Park in Arlington. Mandatory Credit: Ray Carlin-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 29, 2017; Arlington, TX, USA; Texas Rangers relief pitcher Jose Leclerc (62) delivers to the plate in the seventh inning against the Los Angeles Angels at Globe Life Park in Arlington. Mandatory Credit: Ray Carlin-USA TODAY Sports /
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It’s clear that the Rangers need to make some bullpen changes after their 11th blown save on Wednesday. Relief pitcher Jose Leclerc is nearing a return after a disabled list stint. It could mean changes are coming in the Texas pen.

This season the Texas Rangers have 13 losses in games decided in the seventh inning or later. The bullpen has been the biggest problem all season, but help is on the way. Righty Jose Leclerc should be activated at some point this week.

He’s been out since May 8 with a right index finger injury. He made strong showings in his two rehab appearances in Double-A, and should be ready to return to Arlington soon. Will there still be a spot open for him?

Before the Leclerc injury the Rangers had an eight-man bullpen. Now the team is carrying seven relief pitchers, and manager Jeff Banister will have a big decision to make. The fact Leclerc was pitching well before the injury will likely force Banister’s hand.

According to Sam Butler, Banister had this to say about the possible bullpen problem.

"“I think, yeah, that’s part of it,” Banister said. “Whether we go back to a full complement, if we stay with the bench, how we go forward with all of the starters — there’s a number of decisions to be made.”"

This season Leclerc is 0-1 with a 2.31 ERA in ten appearances with 18 strikeouts. He has yet to allow a home run in 11.2 innings of work. His early season stats show that he could be a solid asset to the Rangers bullpen.

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The best option would be to keep Leclerc on the 25-man roster and send down Sam Dyson. This season Dyson is 1-6 with a 10.80 ERA with 20 earned runs allowed. He needs some time in the minors, and this way Leclerc can stay on the Rangers roster.

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