Rangers GM Jon Daniels reveals Colby Lewis' injury
Good news for the Texas Rangers on Wednesday came in the sixth inning, when left-hander Cole Hamels left his start under his own power and without any announcement from the club that he exited because of an injury.
Based on what had happened to two other pitchers earlier in the day, some with the organization might have been holding their breath.
The club announced just before first pitch that right-hander Colby Lewis, a candidate for the American League All-Star team, will be out at least two months with a strained right lat muscle. Three hours earlier, Derek Holland hit the disabled list with inflammation in his left shoulder.
The double whammy to the rotation didn’t have any effect on what happened on the field, which turned into more good news for the Rangers. They beat the Cincinnati Reds 6-4 and have a 10-game lead over the Houston Astros in the American League West.
With their stretch of 20 games in 20 straight days complete, the Rangers get another test without two members of their season-opening rotation.
We’re still talking about what the rotation will look like but have confidence that someone will step up.
Rangers GM Jon Daniels
“From a big-picture standpoint with the team, we’re still talking about what the rotation will look like but have confidence that someone will step up,” general manager Jon Daniels said. “That’s just kind of the makeup of this team based on what they’ve done and what they will continue to do.
“On a personal level, it’s a kick in the gut. There’s nobody more respected and admired on the club than Colby. He was having as good of a season as you could imagine.”
Daniels didn’t say who were the internal candidates to replace Lewis in the rotation, but that duty will likely fall to right-handers Chi Chi Gonzalez or Kyle Lohse on Tuesday at Yankee Stadium. Nick Martinez will take Holland’s turn Friday to open a three-game series against the Boston Red Sox, and fellow righty A.J. Griffin will come off the disabled list to start Saturday.
Griffin will fill Yu Darvish’s spot and stick in the rotation after he returns from shoulder tightness and a mechanics tweak. But Darvish might not return before the All-Star break after pitching coach Doug Brocail said that it would be eight or nine days before Darvish is even ready for a rehab start.
Daniels said that the Rangers might seek help from outside the organization ahead of the July 31 trade deadline. Pitchers with some form of contractual control, such as Atlanta Braves right-hander Julio Teheran and Tampa Bay Rays righty Jake Odorizzi, could be more attractive to the Rangers than a two-month rental, like Oakland A’s lefty Rich Hill.
“We’ll take a step back and assess where we are here,” Daniels said. “We have a lot of confidence in the pitching staff and others that we can call up. But we have three of your key guys, your veteran starter on the DL, it’s definitely a test.”
Lewis (6-1 3.21 ERA) said on Tuesday that he had no concerns about his health after leaving his start after only five innings because of what the club called right triceps tightness. An MRI exam, though, showed a Grade 2 strain of his right lat, and he will be shut down from all throwing for four weeks.
He will begin a throwing program if a second MRI shows enough healing. He could need another four weeks to build up his arm strength.
I’m glad it’s not something major. That’s definitely the bright side after what I’ve gone through.
No timetable was given on Holland, who complained of some discomfort after a third consecutive subpar outing Monday. He said that he has been trying to pitch through it for about a month, but this discomfort is far less severe and in a different area than the pain associated with the strained subscapularis muscle that cost him four months last season.
“I’m not throwing for a couple days just to let that cool off a little bit,” said Holland, who is 5-5 with a 5.20 ERA. “It’s better than what it could have been. I’m glad it’s not something major. That’s definitely the bright side after what I’ve gone through. I’m confident in what these guys are going to put me through to get me back out on the field.”
The Rangers scored four times in the fourth inning, which started with a walk, a hit batter and another walk against Reds starter Dan Straily. Adrian Beltre singled in the first run, Prince Fielder singled in two more, and the final run scored on a Mitch Moreland grounder and a throwing error as the Reds tried to turn an inning-ending double play.
Ian Desmond, out of the starting lineup for the first time since April, entered for defense in the seventh and started the home half with a long homer to center field.
Hamels (8-1) allowed one run on five hits in six innings and recorded eight strikeouts as he won at Globe Life Park for the first time since April 20. The Reds got within 5-4 in the eighth after Jake Diekman issued a three-run homer, but Shin-Soo Choo started the Rangers’ eighth with a homer.
The Rangers completed a stretch of 20 games on 20 consecutive days with a 16-4 record that helped them move from a first-place tie to a double-digit games lead. But the 20th day saw them lose two starting pitchers.
Rangers vs. Red Sox
7:05 p.m. Friday, FSSW