A.J. Griffin, Jeff Banister address Griffin's shoulder issue
Putting A.J. Griffin on the disabled list wasn’t necessarily an inevitability after he came up with shoulder stiffness Saturday, but the Texas Rangers wanted to take the cautious route with the right-hander.
Griffin hit the 15-day DL on Sunday morning after it was determined that he would have to miss at least one start. With the virtue of an off day Thursday, Griffin could have returned May 17 at Oakland, but instead the Rangers will use a spot starter there and another off day May 19, and hope Griffin can return as early as May 23.
If Griffin needs more time, Yu Darvish could eventually take over the spot. He will make his next rehab start Thursday for Triple A Round Rock and could be ready May 22 or May 27.
First up, though, is Griffin visiting with Dr. Keith Meister on Monday to determine the extent of Griffin’s shoulder injury.
“It’s pretty sore [Sunday], but that was to be expected,” Griffin said. “We’ve got to take it day by day and get it checked out and make sure that we do what we’ve go to do to get it back.”
Griffin, who missed the past two seasons with elbow and shoulder injuries, said that he couldn’t get extension on his pitches and noticed a velocity dip before he exited Saturday after 2 2/3 innings. Anthony Ranaudo replaced him and got his first win with the Rangers, who rallied from a 5-2 deficit to a 10-5 win.
Left-hander Alex Claudio, who was optioned Saturday to make room for Drew Stubbs, was recalled from Triple A Round Rock for Griffin. Actually, Claudio was recalled from Detroit Metropolitan Airport, where he had just arrived to fly back to Texas before getting called back to Comerica Park.
Under MLB rules, a player who is optioned can be recalled within the 10-day required stay in the minors if he is taking the place of an injured player. Claudio gave the Rangers an extra arm for Sunday after they used five relievers Saturday.
Left field for Mazara?
Shin-Soo Choo is scheduled to head to extended spring training Monday night, play games Tuesday through Saturday, play three games with Triple A Round Rock and one with Double A Midland before possibly coming off the disabled list May 20 at Houston.
Once activated, he is expected to resume playing right field, his best position, and push rookie Nomar Mazara to left field, assuming Mazara isn’t optioned to the minors to make room for Choo.
125 Career games in left field for Shin-Soo Choo, who has played 753 in right field
Left field isn’t foreign territory to Mazara, who played 33 games there last season in the minors and a few in spring training. It isn’t foreign to Choo, either, though he struggled there in 2014.
“He’s probably more comfortable in right,” manager Jeff Banister said. “Once you settle into playing a position, you know the direction you run and the ball off the bat and the angles. Mazara, I’m sure that if he was needed to go play left field, he’d have no issues.”
Right-hander Colby Lewis will make his seventh start of the season Monday to open a three-game series against the Chicago White Sox, and the first six seem to have gone fairly smoothly.
Lewis said that he wanted to get off to a fast start, and he has at 2-0 with a 3.32 ERA. He has gone at least six innings in each of his starts, and he leads the team with five quality starts.
Even when something hasn’t gone well, like on the eight homers he’s allowed, he just moves on as he always has.
“Overall, I’ve felt pretty good every time I’ve taken the ball,” he said. “I feel like I’ve been doing it long enough to where a lot of stuff doesn’t bother me.”
Banister said that Lewis’ improved health, with a repaired right knee and without 30 extra pounds, is behind the early-season success.
“How he pitches is the same,” Banister said. “It makes you more consistent because he’s healthier.”