Bad news from John Blake this morning:
Rangers place Alexi Ogando on DL with right groin strain. Recall LH Michael Kirkman from Round Rock. Saturday starter is TBD.— John Blake (@RangerBlake) June 12, 2012
A few things here...
First of all, this recent stretch really highlights how lucky the Rangers were in terms of starting pitching health last season. The Rangers basically had the same starting five from start to finish in 2011. This year, the Rangers have now seen two starting pitchers go on the disabled list, and now Alexi Ogando, a fill-in starter, join them.
Secondly, this illustrates that what was thought to be a Rangers' strength this season -- starting pitching depth -- has evolved into something of a weakness. Along with the five man Opening Day rotation, the Rangers had Scott Feldman and Alexi Ogando in the bullpen, who were viewed as decent starting options, as well as Martin Perez and Neil Ramirez in the minors, who were viewed as potentially being ready this season. Feldman has not been good in the rotation, Ogando is hurt, and Perez and Ramirez have both been very disappointing in AAA. In fact, the best starting pitching depth options at this point from within may be Robbie Ross, who was barely on the radar this spring and who has been pitching out of the bullpen all season for Texas, and Justin Grimm, whose pro resume before this season was 9 starts in low-A and 16 starts in high-A with solid, but not spectacular, results.
My guess at this point is that Ross will start Saturday, with Kirkman taking over as the lone lefty in the pen and the long man, the role Ross had been filling. Alternatively, the Rangers could opt to call up Perez for a start, or purchase the contract of Grimm, but both of those options seem fairly unlikely.
The good news, at least, is that reinforcements are on the way, with Derek Holland likely to come off the disabled list fairly soon, and Roy Oswalt -- whose presence I dismissed as unnecessary and irrelevant a few weeks ago -- a couple of starts away from being able to join the team.
UPDATE -- Per people on Twitter, Jon Daniels is saying Ogando is expected to be out 4-6 weeks.