It had seemed like the injury bug had left the Texas Rangers, but that may not be the case. It is really not a new injury as Colby Lewis is still dealing with the forearm stiffness that placed him on the disabled list before the All-Star break, but it is putting his next scheduled start against the Red Sox on Tuesday in jeopardy.
Lewis experienced the stiffness after his first start back on Wednesday against the Oakland Athletics and did not throw on Saturday, making it seem that another stint on the disabled list is a strong possibility. The Rangers would most likely bring back Martin Perez and then Perez or Scott Feldman would move into Lewis' spot in the rotation. Perez was scheduled to start in Round Rock on Saturday, but ended up pitching two-innings in relief on Friday night instead.
This latest setback with Lewis leaves the Rangers with countless questions facing the rotation. Lewis is having lingering issues with his forearm, Neftali Feliz struggled during his rehab start on Friday night and there is still inconsistency within the rest of the rotation. Early in the season it seemed that eventually Jon Daniels would improve this club with a right-handed bat for the bench, however adding a top-end starter seems like a strong possibility at this point.
The Rangers' names have been mentioned with just about every starting pitcher on the market, but adding a starter of that caliber seemed like a luxury that would not likely be necessary with pitchers returning from the disabled list. However, if you can add a front-end pitcher at this point of the season it is always a benefit and with the uncertainty of the Rangers rotation, it is looking like a safe move to make.
Whether Lewis is dealing with something that will linger long term or not, the way 2012 is going, somebody else is going to go down at some point. Holland has already hit the disabled once with fatigue that was due to a lingering virus, Matt Harrison will be heading into uncharted territory for innings before long and Roy Oswalt spent much of 2011 on the DL with back issues. Oswalt has had no problems so far, but that could change as he gets deeper into the season.
I personally had no desire for the Rangers to add a starter like Cole Hamels or Zack Greinke. In my opinion, they had the starting pitching necessary to get the job done without sacrificing any of their top-prospects, however my opinion is starting to change. The jolt into the top of the rotation would be great, but it will also provide a bit more stability for the stretch.
The worst part of this situation is that the market for starting pitchers is somewhat changing even though nobody has come off of the board yet. Hamels has been in deep negotiations to extend his contract in Philadelphia and Greinke was skipped in his last start to "recharge his batteries." Those words are never what you want to hear if you are a general manager and about to give up a few prospects to get a player for two months' time. With Greinke, you have to question if something bigger is going on and if he will eventually have to be sat down for an extended period of time.
That means that if the Rangers do want to add a starter they are going to have to open up their window and look at other options. There have even been some stories that the Rangers would pursue Cliff Lee, but that would likely have to come with the Phillies eating a large portion of his contract.
There are only nine days left for teams to figure out what they are going to do on the trade market, but it seems like the uncertainty in the Rangers' rotation is going to last much longer.
John Bowman is a lifelong baseball and Texas Rangers fan that loves to ponder the deeper aspects of the game. Some of his first baseball memories involve Arlington Stadium nachos, Charlie Hough's knuckleball, dirt on Pete Incaviglia's uniform and the voices of Mark Holtz and Eric Nadel as he fell asleep.