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Hump day Rangers

Weird scheduling this week...a two game series at Tampa Bay, then a two game series at home against Baltimore, followed by a three-game weekend series against the Yankees...

Mixed feelings about the game yesterday. Robinson Tejeda's control issues were extremely alarming, and going through 6 relievers in four innings is odd. But Dumpmaster keeps hammering the ball, Brad Wilkerson had a terrific game (and, despite all the Ks and the horrid start, has his OPS above 700), and even Popup contributed.

A win is a win, and the Rangers are still in first, a half-game ahead of Oakland, and three games ahead of the hated Anaheim Angles. With the Kronkster going up against Daniel Cabrera tonight, and Millwood facing Bruce Chen tomorrow, you have to feel good about the Rangers' chances of taking both games...

As everyone probably knows, Fabio Castro went on the d.l. with a groin strain. His comments in the S-T today are pretty funny:

"It hurts some," Castro said. "It's not really bad, but it does bother me."

Heh. I hope he remembers which groin is supposedly hurt, so he doesn't limp from the wrong side.

Anyway, to clarify the situation with a Rule 5 pick, he has to spend the entire season in the majors. He can spend some of that time on the 15 day d.l., but he has to spend at least 90 days on the active major league roster. If he doesn't, the 90 day requirement carries over to 2007, although he gets credit for however much time he spent on the active roster in 2006. So if Castro spends 83 days on the active roster this year, and the rest of the time on the disabled list, he has to spend 7 days on the active roster next year before he can be optioned.

That's why Adam Stern was on the BoSox roster to start this season, and then was optioned to the minors late in April.

Once rosters expand in September, Castro can be activated and get 31 days of time on the roster then. That means that the Rangers have to have him on the active roster for 28 days between now and then to fulfill the Rule 5 requirements. My guess is that Castro will go do a minor league rehab stint before too long, stay the full 30 days on that assignment, be called up for a couple of weeks, then head back to the d.l. and do another rehab assignment.

Also on the bullpen/injury front, Antonio Alfonseca turned his ankle, and his status is apparently in doubt.

There's a couple of things the Rangers could do, with the Alfonseca injury. They could simply d.l. Alfonseca, and call up Scott Feldman to take his place. But if Alfonseca is only going to miss a few games, they probably wouldn't want to do that.

However, if Alfonseca is going to be out, and the bullpen is going to be short-handed, that presents a problem. What the Rangers probably should do is option Tejeda and call up Feldman. Rick Bauer can start on the 7th, and then the Rangers don't need a 5th starter again until the 17th, when Tejeda can come back up.

Or, if it turns out that Alfonseca is going to have to go on the d.l. after the Tejeda/Feldman switch is made, Tejeda can be recalled immediately and make the start on the 7th.

Either way, it gives you a fresh arm for the pen for the next couple of days.

In other items, Jan Hubbard has a piece on players who start quickly in April, touching on Kevin Mench's home run streak.

And Frankie Francisco is going to see Dr. Yocum...if Yocum gives the okay, Frankie will start a rehab assignment.