With Tommy Hunter now pitching again, as he continues to rehab a strained groin, the question becomes, what will the Rangers do once he is healthy enough to join the big league club? While it appears Hunter's return is at least a few more weeks away, there is already speculation that he could join the Rangers in the bullpen (as Calvin Watkins writes for ESPN Dallas) since there really isn't a spot in the rotation for him currently. Accordingly, JD says the team is weighing the option of having Hunter in the bullpen upon his return.
While Tommy Hunter isn't going to be a TORP type of pitcher, he is still one of the Rangers 12 best pitchers so he could definitely come back up in the pen to replace a Dave Bush or Brett Tomko as soon as he is healthy. However, the conventional wisdom might be to move Alexi Ogando back to his 8th inning role in the bullpen, strengthening the bullpen, while opening up a spot for Hunter's return to the rotation which is the only role Hunter's ever performed in as a big leaguer.
It could be though that Ogando has ended all thoughts of his future role being "8th inning guy" with his performance in the rotation so far. Ron Washington has said as recently as late April that there are no current plans to move Alexi Ogando from the rotation. And while it would be nice to have an Ogando for the higher leverage situations in the late innings, while limiting his innings in only his second big league season, Ogando is probably more valuable to the team as a starter at the moment.
The Rangers could also just let the hand play itself out and let Hunter continue to pitch in Frisco until Matt Harrison or Derek Holland struggle for a couple of starts or, heaven forbid, another injury happens. While it will be interesting to see what the Rangers decide to do with Tommy Hunter, just the thought of incoming pitching depth is a relief.
So what do you think the Rangers should do with Tommy Hunter once he is healthy? I've attached a poll for you to vote.