Lost in the Josh Hamilton news, the Carlos Gomez update and the Derek Holland performance Tuesday was the Shawn Tolleson news.
The Texas Rangers closer for much of 2015 and to open this season before losing his job won’t pitch again this season after hitting the 60-day disabled list with an issue in his lower back.
The good news is that it’s not another herniated disk, an injury he had in 2013. Another operation could lead Tolleson down the same path as left-hander Matt Harrison, who had a fusion surgery after multiple disk issues and is now drifting away on the 60-day disabled list as the Philadelphia Phillies cash insurance checks.
As far as seasons go, they don’t get much worse than the one Tolleson had. The phrase that comes to mind is “bad things happening to good people.”
Here’s some Rangers Reaction from a 3-0 loss on a newsy day.
1. Starting for the first time since June 20, Holland came off the 60-day disabled list and allowed one run in six efficient innings.
That will do.
But he needs to do it again Sunday against Cleveland and then again in early September against Houston before anyone should proclaim the Rangers’ rotation playoff-ready.
They need to make the playoffs first.
Holland’s first time back after a shoulder strain at least gives the Rangers some hope that they have found an arm that will help them in their push for a second straight American League West title.
A rotation of Cole Hamels, Yu Darvish and, in some order, an effective Derek Holland, Colby Lewis and Martin Perez has a better feel to it.
Holland’s lone mistake was a walk in a nine-pitch plate appearance by Tyler Holt, who scored three batters later on a soft two-out single by Joey Votto. For those who haven’t heard, Votto is pretty good, and yet Holland thought he twice had him struck out.
Bob Davidson disagreed. Imagine that.
The loss aside, Holland threw his fastball for strikes and had swing-and-miss stuff with his off-speed pitches. It all starts with the fastball with Holland.
His first start off the disabled list generated some hope. If he repeats the performance over the next few weeks, the Rangers’ rotation for September will look good enough.
2. Carlos Gomez is going to be with the Rangers by Thursday, though there’s always the possibility that he will be asked to log another game or two somewhere in the minors. But there’s no doubt he will be with the club at some point during the upcoming series against Cleveland.
Manager Jeff Banister laid out the plan for Gomez before Tuesday’s game. He will play left field against right-handers, with Nomar Mazara in right field, and will play right field against left-handers, with Delino DeShields in left field.
DeShields will be the leadoff batter against lefties. That duty is still TBA against righties, though Banister said that it won’t be Elvis Andrus or Rougned Odor but could be Ian Desmond.
The moral of that story is that the Rangers sure do miss Shin-Soo Choo.
DeShields’ splits this season are actually better against righties, .238 to .216, but he had a .280/.360/.400 slash against lefties last season and has been better of late against them.
The trip to Cincinnati allowed DeShields to shoot south 90 minutes to watch his dad manage the Reds’ Triple A affiliate in Louisville, Ky. It was the first time DeShields had seen his namesake manage a game.
They got some grub after the game and caught up. DeShields said that he and his father talk or text multiple times a week and that his dad, the former major-league infielder, always has a tip or a pick-me-up to deliver.
“He knows me better than anybody,” DeShields said. “If I’m struggling, he’ll give me stuff to try out or stuff that I’ve kind of gotten away from to get back to. It’s those little reminders that help me the most.”
3. Josh Hamilton is about to become a free agent again, but it’s hard to see him going anywhere but back to the Rangers next spring on a minor-league deal.
He facing some significant ifs, though. He’ll be back if he clears waivers, which is a no-brainer. He’ll be back if another team doesn’t decide to give him a major-league deal. He’ll be back if his left knee is fully healthy and he shows the Rangers something this off-season.
The last one is the biggest if.
As for making the Opening Day roster, Hamilton is a long shot. The Rangers are likely to need a designated hitter, barring them re-signing Mitch Moreland or Carlos Beltran or them deciding to run Jurickson Profar through the DH spot and all four infield spots regularly.
But even if they do none of the above, it’s difficult for a one-trick pony to make a Rangers roster these days. Hamilton would also have to show that he is capable of playing the outfield, and that seems doubtful based on the latest evidence.
So, while it’s seems likely that we haven’t seen the last of Hamilton with the Rangers, it seems unlikely that he is on their major-league roster again.
But it’s worth finding out if there’s anything left after he had his biggest hold-up, his left knee, fixed. It wouldn’t be much different than what the Rangers are doing with Gomez.