Texas Rangers

Rangers Reaction: Did Rangers rush Perez's return from off-season injury?

Martin Perez's right elbow was bothering him Sunday at Toronto, and the Rangers placed him on the 10-day disabled list Monday.
Martin Perez's right elbow was bothering him Sunday at Toronto, and the Rangers placed him on the 10-day disabled list Monday. The Canadian Press via AP)

The barometer soared past 60 degrees Monday in Cleveland and is forecast to pass 70 degrees the next two days. That might feel like 100 for folks in this area.

Springtime has been brutal so far, as it has been for many of the country's northern cities. A look at all the canceled games tells only part of the story, and the high temps Saturday and Sunday were both below 50 degrees.

Alas, warmth will visit the shores of Lake Erie as for the Texas Rangers' only visit of the season to Progressive Field, which opened the same year as Globe Life Park.

It also still looks pretty sharp. There are no plans, though, for a new, roofed home for the Cleveland Indians.

Here's some Rangers Reaction from a 7-5 loss.

 1. Martin Perez is on the disabled list again as the bull he devoured gets some revenge from the afterlife.

The right elbow Perez broke in December trying avoid his charging future dinner (as well as dinner for the community around his ranch in Venezuela) is barking and Perez isn't pitching well and the Rangers are looking for a solution.

It might take only 10 days for the elbow to cool down, or it might take a month and a few rehab starts for Perez to get his pitching back in order. All agree on that.

No matter what the Twitter trolls think, Perez isn't as bad as he has shown. He's not a lost cause. With the club options remaining on his contract, he could be a good value, but he has to turn things around after an ugly start.

It could take some time, which leads to the following question:

Did the Rangers not give him enough time to fully recover from the initial injury?

Hindsight says yes, but the Rangers answer Monday was no — at least as far as his left elbow was concerned. He didn't have any problems with his throwing arm during spring training, and the Rangers have no concerns about it four years after he underwent Tommy John surgery as part of the Rangers' 2014 injury train wreck.

"I felt like he had a relatively normal progression," general manager Jon Daniels said. "From a pitching standpoint, as far as building up strength in his [left] arm, I don't think we took any risks there. From a standpoint of just physically, the upper-body strength that he was not able to work on during the winter, that's a fair question.

"The doctor said it was going to take a longer period of time to get back to 100 percent. "From the time you're cleared to play to the time you're 1,000 percent with no issues, it's not the same thing."

The player has a say, too, and Perez was a full-go from the time he was injured. It was his goal to not miss any time this season, and he really hasn't. He did start the season on the DL, though against his wishes as he was asked to make one more spring start (albeit in a simulated game).

At the time, the Rangers have been extremely cautious with Mike Minor, who hadn't started an MLB game since 2014 and was a reliever last season. It made sense to want to give him extra rest, though he says he doesn't need it now.

The Rangers have a decision to make on that next week. Considering how often long man Jesse Chavez is needed and the options in the minors — Yohander Mendez hasn't been good and Austin Bibens-Dirkx or Yovani Gallardo would have to be added to the 40-man roster — Minor on normal rest is the best option.

So is giving Perez time to sort out his right elbow and delivery.

 2. From the files of a baseball friend who prefers to remain anonymous came the following question Monday: Is Bartolo Colon the front-runner to be the Rangers' representative at the All-Star Game?

Come to think of it, yes.

Will it stay that way? Maybe, as the Perez injury has again bought Colon more starts. Joey Gallo's power and versatility could make him an interesting pick. Maybe closer Keone Kela makes a push.

And then there's Cole Hamels, who has four All-Star appearances and, technically, is trending the right way.

Of course, he has plenty of room for improvement after failing to complete seven innings once this season. He didn't retire any of the two Indians he faced in the sixth. 

But he allowed only two runs (one earned) in five-plus innings thanks to some solid relief work by Jose Leclerc. That's the fifth time Hamels has allowed two or fewer runs in his seven starts, and his eight strikeouts gave him four games with at least seven.

He entered the game with 10. 1 strikeouts per nine innings, up 3.7 from last season.

But Hamels' three walks pushed his pitch count to 104, and the free passes are at the root of him not pitching deeper into games.

"I'm not doing what I'm capable of doing," he said. "It's the walks. The guys I'm walking I'm not walking 3-0 or 4-0. Those are the 7-10 pitch at-bats."

The All-Star Game is 10 weeks away, and Hamels often gets better as the season gets longer. His velocity increases. He has found his rhythm. Now, he appears determined to clean up what's ailing him.

It certainly appears as if the Rangers will have only one All-Star. Maybe Adrian Beltre gets a courtesy nod to career service, should he return from injury productive and manage to stay healthy. Courtesy and curiosity could help Colon.

Hamels, though, could end up making a strong case.

3. The bottom of the fourth inning is the precise moment when Drew Robinson pushed many a Rangers fan on the Twitter over the edge.

He dropped the ball as he transferred it to is throwing hand while trying to turn two, and the ball rolled far enough away for the Indians to score the tying run.

No answer could satisfy this bunch as to why Robinson is on the team in light of his especially rotten numbers. But forget the injuries, forget who is on the 40-man roster, and forget what the general manager and manager think is best for the team.

Robinson is on the team because he is on the 40-man, and he's starting at second base because the starting second baseman is hurt, his backup is playing shortstop for the injured starting shortstop, and another utility infielder is starting at third for the injured starting third baseman.

If something were to happen to the center fielder, Robinson would be needed there because the backup center fielder is hurt

Why isn't Joey Gallo at third base? Fair question, but the apparent answer is because there is no better option for left field. Not Ryan Rua, not Renato Nunez, not Willie Calhoun and certainly not Robinson. Right?

Why not Nunez at third or Nunez or Calhoun in left? The Rangers do value defense, and Nunez is not as good at third as Isiah Kiner-Falefa. Nunez and Calhoun, batting .237 at Triple A entering Monday, aren't as good as Gallo in left.

With what is missing from the batting order, runs are at a premium and the Rangers can't be giving them away.

Things could change, and maybe they should. Yet, Robinson probably won't be sent to Triple A Round Rock once Rougned Odor is ready to come off the DL, possibly early next week, and start at second again. The Rangers will still need a backup at shortstop and center field.

Robinson could be safe until Adrian Beltre returns to third base in a couple weeks.

Is that ideal? No. But it's reality.

Some people couldn't handle that starting in the fourth inning.

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