C.D. Pelham is officially a major-leaguer after making his debut Wednesday night.
Austin Bibens-Dirkx logged the two innings ahead of Pelham, meaning that the only September call-ups yet to play are outfielder Willie Calhoun and right-hander Adrian Sampson.
Calhoun has a pretty nasty chest cold and wasn’t available the past two games. Sampson logged six innings Saturday for Triple A Round Rock and will be available to the Rangers for the first time Friday.
The Rangers could also make is so that he’s available the next time Bartolo Colon’s spot in the rotation comes around.
Here’s some Rangers Reaction from a 9-3 loss to the Angels.
1. Colon allowed two runs in the first inning, two more in the third on an Andrelton Simmons homer, a run in the fourth, and that was it.
But was that it?
The season has reached September, and the Rangers are rebuilding. They have two young pitchers — Yohander Mendez and Ariel Jurado — already in the rotation, and Sampson is likely to receive a start this month.
The Rangers also have a number of relievers they would like to evaluate, and they could accomplish that with bullpen games without leaving them short on relievers the next day or two.
Colon’s starts the rest of the way could be numbered, but manager Jeff Banister suggested Colon will pitch again this season. Colon said that he wants to return next season.
To the Rangers.
“If it is here, that’s great,” Colon said. “That’s better than anything. I like it here, but you never know.”
Colon said that he will wait until the off-season to decide if he will give a 22nd MLB season a go. He turns 47 in May.
At this point, no one should put it past him, but he clearly isn’t a fit with the Rangers.
Sampson is an interesting player in that he is coming back from an injury in 2016 and turned it on late in the Triple A season. The Rangers need starters for next season, both in the majors and at Triple A, and Sampson will get a tryout.
Jeffrey Springs isn’t a starter despite what happened Monday. But he has started in the minors in the past and said that he is willing to do anything the Rangers ask of him. Maybe he starts a game again and logs three innings before being replaced by Sampson for three, Connor Sadzeck for two and Pelham for one.
Or maybe the Rangers let Colon start some more but limit his innings.
The best thing he has going for him is that the Rangers don’t have multiple young starters who need to be evaluated.
2. Shohei Ohtani’s right elbow was evaluated Wednesday, and afterward Tommy John surgery was recommended for the player the Rangers wanted to build a rotation and batting order around last off-season.
So, he’s not going to pitch again this season, but the Angels are still going to help him hit. And he can hit.
Ohtani swatted two homers and collected two singles. He has 18 homers on the season, and one more will give him the MLB record by a rookie from Japan.
But the Angels intended for him to be a two-way player going forward, so surgery seems like a foregone conclusion even though he is being given time to think about it.
He will have spent more time thinking about that than he did in selecting the Angels over the Rangers and five other teams.
A question that came up Wednesday was whether the Angels erred in letting Ohtani rehab from a Grade 2 strain in June and work his way back to pitch again. He threw 49 pitches Sunday at Houston, and his velocity dipped significantly in the third inning.
He was lifted after one out, though it was said he left because of back tightness and a sore hand after taking a grounder of it.
The Angels’ mistake was putting off Tommy John surgery in June.
If Ohtani has it next week or at the end of the season, he won’t be ready to hit until May or June at the earliest. The Angels will also have to weigh whether hitting would jeopardize the elbow as he started a throwing program.
Had he undergone the surgery in June, he could have been hitting and further into in his throwing program by spring training. He might have been available to pitch only for September, but at least he could received some meaningful innings ahead of 2020.
There’s probably no clear correct path the Angels could have taken. This seemed inevitable for Ohtani.
3. The first batter Pelham faced was Ohtani, and it apparently was an out-of-body experience.
“The first batter, I couldn’t even feel my body,” Pelham said.
Ohtani laced a single to left-center as the Angels opened single, stolen base, E2, single, 6-4-3 double play, single, single against the left-handed Pelham, whose Double A contract was purchased Tuesday by the Rangers.
He was nervous the whole game he said, and then was left in awe as he reached the Globe Life Park mound and took a look around.
“And it hit me, ‘I’m a big-leaguer now,’” he said.
That was the message Banister gave after coming to get Pelham, who recorded only the two outs. No matter what happens the rest of the season, the rest of his career, the rest of his life, no one can ever take away from Pelham that he is a major-league ballplayer.
But Wednesday was just the beginning. The Rangers saw the stuff for the first time, and really liked it. The fastball was hard, topping out at 98, and not one of them was straight. The slider wasn’t as sharp has it can be, but that will improve his next time out.
That might be Friday at Oakland, where Pelham’s girlfriend and family are planning to see him in a Rangers uniform for the first time. It might be next week at Anaheim.
Pelham doesn’t know when it will be. In that way, he’s no different than Colon.