Prospect Justin Grimm to get start

Updated: June 14, 2012, 5:27 PM ET
By Richard Durrett | ESPNDallas.com

ARLINGTON, Texas - Double-A pitcher Justin Grimm will start Saturday's game for the Texas Rangers, taking the spot vacated by Alexi Ogando, who strained his groin running out a bunt hit Sunday against the San Francisco Giants.

Texas won't make a roster move until Saturday, but Koji Uehara will be placed on the 15-day disabled list with a strained right lat muscle and fellow right-hander Neftali Feliz will be moved to the 60-day DL, meaning the first day he is eligible to return is July 18.

Grimm, 23, is 8-3 with a 1.87 ERA in 13 starts for Double-A Frisco this season (77 innings). He has 67 strikeouts against only 14 walks, and opponents are batting .228 against him.

We're going to put our best guys out there if they're ready to help us win. We feel Justin is. We're trying to win ballgames. We wouldn't call up Justin if we didn't think he could help us.

-- Rangers GM Jon Daniels

A fifth-round draft pick in 2010 out of the University of Georgia, Grimm was 7-3 with a 3.39 ERA in 25 starts split between Class A Hickory and Myrtle Beach in 2011.

"We're going to put our best guys out there if they're ready to help us win," Rangers general manager Jon Daniels said Thursday. "We feel Justin is. We're trying to win ballgames. We wouldn't call up Justin if we didn't think he could help us."

The Rangers are dealing with injuries to several starting pitchers. Besides Ogando, who had moved from the bullpen to the rotation before the injury, left-hander Derek Holland is on the DL recovering from a stomach ailment and a sore shoulder. Feliz has a strained elbow ligament and could begin a throwing program soon.

Daniels said he isn't sure if Grimm will make just one start or if he'll stay in the rotation while Holland works to return and Roy Oswalt continues to get innings in the minors. Oswalt is scheduled to start Sunday night at Triple-A Round Rock and throw about 100 pitches. After that, the club will evaluate and determine if his next start is in the big leagues as a member of the Rangers' rotation.

Daniels said Uehara strained his lat muscle against the Giants in San Francisco and likely won't throw for two weeks. An MRI revealed the strain.

"It's dependent on when he's completely pain free and there is no discomfort," Daniels said. "That's when we'll know that the healing is taking place. Then we'll probably scan him again and set him up on a throwing program and get him back going again."

Daniels said moving Feliz to the 60-day DL is not an indication that the starter has had a setback. In fact, Daniels said Feliz is doing well and likely will see Rangers physician Dr. Keith Meister on Friday to determine if he's ready to start a throwing program. He'll need to build up arm strength again -- Feliz hasn't thrown in four weeks - to be ready to pitch by July 18.

But for now, Grimm gets the big promotion and a chance to show that his consistent command can translate to getting major-league hitters out.

"He's gotten a lot more consistent with his fastball command, and his changeup has really improved," Daniels said. "I think the developmental staff has done a real nice job with him. This is a guy that we took in the draft. I had never seen him before - just his college performance. I said obviously this guy is talented, but what gives? "I think the feeling was he was just a blank slate. He hadn't had the type of instruction that we could offer him. Our scouts saw an unfinished product and our developmental staff has done a good job of getting him to this point."