Rangers Dropping Like Flies

A farewell to arms: Mounting pitching injuries plague Texas Rangers

A farewell to arms: Mounting pitching injuries plague Texas Rangers

The Texas Rangers are reeling from a new round of injuries, but the writing has been on the wall since January. That's when starting pitcher Derek Holland tripped over his dog and was sidelined for at least half the season. Clearly, 2014 is not going to be an easy year to be a Ranger.  

Injuries began piling up early and often. Jurickson Profar, the hot shot second baseman who made Ian Kinsler expendable, went down in spring training and needed shoulder surgery. Before April even rolled around, catcher Geovany Soto needed knee surgery.

Adrian Beltre pulled a quad and missed time, but Kevin Kouzmanoff hit the ball very well in his absence. Then Beltre made it back and Kouzmanoff was lost to a back injury when he fell down the dugout stairs. It's been a rough few months for the Rangers, but nothing prepared them for the latest rash of injuries that have swept through the pitching staff.

 It's been a rough few months for the Rangers, but nothing prepared them for the latest round of injuries that have swept through the pitching staff.

Joe Saunders couldn't even make it through one start, taking a line drive off of the ankle against Tampa Bay. He wasn't being counted on for anything more than fill-in work, but that's exactly what Texas needs right now due to the mounting injuries. 

Tanner Scheppers was supposed to be a middle reliever, but he was thrust into a starting role. Scheppers struggled in the spotlight, and forearm inflammation eventually forced him to the DL. 

Finally, the one-two gut punch of major injuries to starters Martin Perez and Matt Harrison has put the Rangers rotation in critical condition for the foreseeable future. Perez had pitched well to start the season and looked to be a solid addition to the staff.

Then came an atrocious start against the Boston Red Sox. Perez complained of arm soreness and was placed on the short-term DL to rest. Turns out it is a partially torn UCL, which means it's very possible that Perez will need the dreaded Tommy John surgery, an operation that takes him out for at least the rest of this season. Scratch one pitching slot. 

Within hours of learning the bad news about Perez, the Rangers found out that starter Matt Harrison's back stiffness was probably due to a displaced vertebra. He will most likely need spinal fusion surgery, his third back surgery of his career.

There is no significant data that shows a pitcher being able to return from this kind surgery. Ever. Is it too late to sign Ricky "Wild Thing" Vaughn from the Major League franchise? 

These injuries have forced middle relievers Robbie Ross and Alexi Ogando into expanded roles they weren't ready for, and their play is suffering.

Add to that the disappointing play of expected closer Neftali Feliz (he was sent to the minors after a sub-par spring training), and you have a Rangers pitching staff where Yu Darvish is the only healthy player of note. And even he started the season on the disabled list.

It's a precarious situation for the Rangers — one that could end up dropping them right out of contention in the AL West. 

Texas Rangers pitcher Martin Perez
Martin Perez has a partially torn UCL and may be out for the rest of the season. Texas Rangers/Facebook
Derek Holland pitches for the Texas Rangers
Derek Holland was sidelined in January after tripping over his dog. Cleveland.com
Matt harrison
Matt Harrison is looking at spinal fusion surgery to repair his back. Photo courtesy of Texas Rangers
Yu Darvish pitches for the Texas Rangers
Yu Darvish is the only healthy pitcher from the starting lineup. northjersey.com