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Ranger rehabbing relievers reduxing in Round Rock, and why Texas should go to a six man bullpen

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Per Anthony Andro of the S-T, this weekend will be rehabbing major leaguers weekend for the Round Rock Express.

Tommy Hunter will start on Friday and will pitch three to four innings, as the Rangers continue to work him on more of a middle/long man relief schedule than on a starter's schedule.  Darren O'Day, on the 60 day d.l., will also pitch then, per Andro.

Scott Feldman will start on Saturday for the Express, and Eric Hurley will pitch on Sunday, although Andro doesn't indicate whether Hurley will start or pitch in relief.  My guess is that Hurley will start, since they can better control his warmup time and such by having him begin the game on the mound.

Hunter has struggled his last couple of outings, which may have the Rangers more reluctant to activate him and put him in the bullpen.  If they choose to activate any of their disabled pitchers and option them, rather than put them on the major league roster, the optioned pitcher can't return for at least ten days (unless someone on the active roster goes on the d.l.).

Feldman has been pitching well and would seem to be ahead of Hunter in the pecking order.  There were indications earlier this week that O'Day may pitch both Friday and Saturday, and if he can show he can handle back to back outings this weekend, he could be back up at the start of the week.

What I'd like to see the Rangers consider is going back to a six man bullpen, but using guys with options to give them more flexibility.  If the Rangers were to release Dave Bush when Mike Napoli is ready to come back, it would allow them to keep both Taylor Teagarden and Endy Chavez,* giving them more flexibility on the bench. 

*  I'm starting to think that having Chavez and David Murphy both is a bit superfluous anyway, but whatever.

Michael Kirkman could be the Rangers' long man.  If Kirkman ends up having to go multiple innings and the Rangers want a fresh long man, they could option Kirkman and bring up Hunter or Feldman.*  If Yoshinori Tateyama goes a couple of days in a row and they want a fresh arm, they can option him and bring up Darren O'Day.

*  I'm reasonably certain that Feldman has an option left.  He would have to clear waivers to be optioned, because he was first added to the 25 man roster more than three years ago, but no one is going to claim him.

Between Kirkman, Hunter, Feldman, Tateyama, O'Day, Mark Lowe and Ryan Tucker, the Rangers have a collection of arms that could be shuttled between Round Rock and Texas as needs dictate, giving them a deeper bench and the ability to keep fresh arms in the bullpen.  I don't know if Texas would actually do this, but it would be nice to see them try it this summer.