Left-hander Martin Perez landed on the 10-day disabled list Monday afternoon with discomfort in his right elbow, a day after he finished only four innings in a loss to the Toronto Blue Jays.
Perez was largely ineffective, surrendering three home runs among the five hits he allowed, and he walked four. His velocity also dipped, though he said that was done intentionally.
Indeed, the Rangers have no concerns about his left elbow, general manager Jon Daniels said. But the right elbow, the one broken in December after a fall while dodging a charging bull in Venezuela, has been bothering Perez for at least past two starts.
Daniels said that the Rangers aren't sure how long Perez will be out, as he was set to be examined later Monday in Arlington by Dr. Keith Meister, but it could be more than just 10 days.
Perez didn't have complete off-season and was unable to do upper-body weight training. A lack of strength and discomfort in the elbow have combined to wreck his first month of the season to the tune of a 9.67 ERA and a league-high 41 hits allowed in only 22 2/3 innings.
"We don't have a diagnosis on it yet, so I don't want to speculate on what it is," Daniels said. "The elbow seems to be stable. His grip strength wasn't great, and it bothered him.
"How much is it affecting him with his front side and his ability to maintain his delivery? How much is his inability to lift over the winter affected his ability to lift over the winter? Open-ended questions, but I think fair questions."
Cole Hamels was the Rangers' starter as they opened a three-game series against the Cleveland Indians. The Rangers are down to five healthy starters again, certainly enough to navigate them through the remainder of their 12-game stretch without an off day if they finally let lefty Mike Minor start on normal rest.
Perez hits the DL for the season time this season for the same injury. He was injured Dec. 11 and underwent surgery Dec. 18. The Rangers initially expected him to miss the first month of the season, and the concern then and throughout his recovery was his ability to strengthen his upper body enough to endure a full season.
Perez, though, started throwing bullpen sessions in early February and was cleared for Cactus League action in late March. While he didn't reach his goal of being active for Opening Day, he made his 2018 debut in the Rangers' eighth game of the season.
He allowed three runs on 10 hits in 5 1/3 innings April 4 at Oakland, but was the winning pitcher. His next two starts were eyesores before allowing only two runs on seven hits over six innings April 22 to beat Seattle.
That's when Perez first mentioned the elbow discomfort, and it stuck with him through his Sunday start.
"One of the things we've talked about previously ... is how important the front side of the delivery is," manager Jeff Banister said. "Anytime you have something like this quite possibly affecting it, yeah, it has a chance to affect all of it."
Right-hander reliever Jose Leclerc replaced Perez on the roster, and Minor might have to work on normal rest next week for the first time this season. He will again pitch on five days' rest Thursday.
Righty Doug Fister and lefty Matt Moore are scheduled to pitch Tuesday and Wednesday to finish the series at Progressive Field.
"That's something we'll talk about," Daniels said. "If we choose to give him the extra day, there are certainly ways we can do it."