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Saturday, July 13, 2013
Extra Bases: Rotation woes adding up

By Todd Wills

You couldn't say it any better than catcher A.J. Pierzynski after Friday's 7-2 loss to Detroit when asked about the Rangers' rash of injuries to their starting rotation, which has them down to one healthy guy from the season-opening rotation.

"You mean guys dropping like flies?" Pierzynski asked reporters.

Rookie Justin Grimm became the latest Friday night, exiting in the fourth inning with soreness in his right forearm. Grimm may need a trip to the disabled list; he would be the third starter to go down in a week if he does, joining Yu Darvish and Nick Tepesch. The Rangers have seven pitchers on the disabled list.

Grimm needs the four-day All-Star break as much as anyone, with a 9.91 ERA in his last eight starts. Whether he can be a viable member of the Rangers' rotation after the break remains to be seen.

The Rangers hoped to start June with a rotation of Darvish, Holland, Matt Harrison, Alexi Ogando and Colby Lewis.

Those plans have been foiled.

Lewis suffered a setback in late May to his triceps and forearm and hasn't started a rehab assignment, though he appears to be close. He could return in mid-August.

Harrison needed two back surgeries to repair an inflamed nerve in April and isn't expected back until late August, if at all this season.

Ogando is in the middle of rehab assignment for right shoulder inflammation. The Rangers want him to make two more rehab starts -- he allowed four runs in the first inning of his last start for Triple-A Round Rock -- which would mean Ogando would not be available for the first turn in the rotation after the break.

The good news is Ogando did say earlier in the week in Round Rock that physically he feels the best he has all season.

So the Rangers' rotation for the first five games after the break remains to be seen.

Holland and 22-year-old Martin Perez, who has become an important part of the rotation, will likely start the first two games of the first series at home against Baltimore starting July 19.

Darvish, who got a clean bill of health from team doctors, can come off the disabled list July 22 in the opener of a four-game series against the New York Yankees.

That Sunday game against Baltimore? That second game of the Yankees series? Who will make those starts remains to be seen.

Maybe Grimm. Maybe Ross Wolf. Maybe Josh Lindblom. Maybe a pitcher acquired in a trade.

Maybe some good luck could come the Rangers' way.