Martin Perez has been diagnosed with inflammation in his left elbow after undergoing an MRI exam Sunday. He complained about discomfort in the area following his start Saturday.
Perez, 23, is expected to miss at least one start and is probably headed to the disabled list for what should be a short stint there. Because of that, the Rangers shuffled their rotation.
They’ll recall right-hander Nick Tepesch from Triple A Round Rock to start Wednesday at Houston and push Yu Darvish back two days so he’s in line to start Friday vs. Toronto.
Perez has been reeling of late, going 0-3 with a 12.83 ERA over his last three starts. He has allowed 19 runs over 13 1/3 innings in that stretch. In the three starts prior to that, Perez threw eight scoreless innings followed by consecutive complete-game shutouts.
Perez is only the second pitcher in baseball’s modern era (since 1900) to follow up three consecutive scoreless starts with three outings allowing as many runs as innings pitched, according to Elias Sports Bureau.
Perez said he only felt the inflammation Saturday. He is going to stay in Arlington this week to get treatment.
Perez has been healthy for most of his career, with his only stint on the disabled list coming at the beginning of last season. He suffered a broken left wrist in spring training after being hit by a line drive.
With Perez’s status unknown, the Rangers moved Darvish back to set up a rotation of Darvish, Colby Lewis and Matt Harrison against the Blue Jays next weekend.
That will allow the Rangers to avoid starting Lewis and Harrison when they visit the Nationals in late May. They prefer to have those two avoid swinging a bat under National League rules.
It also gives Darvish a few extra days after he threw 126 pitches in his failed no-hit bid Friday against the Red Sox.
As far as Tepesch, it’ll be his first start in the big leagues this season. He’s the best starter going in the minor leagues, compiling a 6-1 record and 1.58 ERA over seven starts with Round Rock.
Astros not overlooked
The Houston Astros are once again on pace to be the American League’s worst team. They have 12 wins in 38 games for a .316 winning percentage.
One of their 12 wins, though, was against the Rangers on April 12. So, the Rangers aren’t taking them for granted as they open a three-game series in Houston this week.
“They’re not that easy,” shortstop Elvis Andrus said. “They’re going to give you a tough game and their consistency is getting better too.
“We know that if we do what we’re supposed to do, we’re going to have a high percentage to win the game. But you never know, baseball is crazy.”
The Rangers went 17-2 against the Astros last year and would like to replicate that success. But it’s a new year in manager Ron Washington’s mind.
“New year, new slate because you can get caught up in getting complacent,” Washington said. “We respect the Houston Astros. Those guys can come out and put it on you, so you better be ready.”
Lewis not fretting
Colby Lewis ran into a hot Colorado team in his last start and the results showed. He lasted only 3 2/3 innings, allowing seven runs on 12 hits. The 12 hits allowed matched his career high.
But Lewis isn’t fretting over that start as he takes the mound again Monday in the series opener at Houston.
“I didn’t feel like I threw the ball terribly,” Lewis said. “I felt my location was decent, Colorado was just hitting everything. I’m going to stick with what I do best and go out and try to get outs.”
Lewis has a history of success against the Astros, particularly at Minute Maid Park. He is 3-0 with a 1.33 ERA in five games, including three starts, in his career there.
Briefly• Left-hander Joe Saunders felt his rehab start Saturday for Double A Frisco went well, as he allowed four runs on seven hits over 5 1/3 innings, including 12 groundouts. Said Saunders, who will start next for Triple A Round Rock on Thursday in Iowa: “I fixed some stuff mechanically so I was more on line, more on target. It was just coming out easy with natural sink. I was very happy with it.”
• Right-hander Scott Baker and infielder Josh Wilson cleared waivers Sunday. Baker accepted an assignment to Triple A Round Rock, while Wilson has yet to inform the team if he will also accept an assignment to Round Rock.
• Washington on lefty reliever Aaron Poreda, who has yet to allow a run over nine appearances: “He’s been tremendous, he really has. He has a good work ethic, doesn’t say very much, and you can see he’s not taking being in the big leagues for granted. He’s earning his stripes.”