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Cole Hamels scratched, Alex Claudio starts

The Texas Rangers have scratched scheduled starter Cole Hamels. Alex Claudio is taking his place.

MLB: Minnesota Twins at Texas Rangers Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Cole Hamels, Texas Rangers’ scheduled starting pitcher tonight, is an extremely late scratch, the Rangers have announced. Alex Claudio will be making a start in his place.

This is bad news, to put it mildly. Hamels apparently has a strained oblique, and it isn’t clear whether this has been bothering him for a while, though it wouldn’t be surprising if it was, as he hasn’t looked sharp so far this season. However, the Rangers currently don’t have a true long man in the bullpen -- Alex Claudio is their de facto long man, but you wouldn’t expect he can go more than three or four innings.

Meanwhile, it sounds like Jose Leclerc still isn’t available, and Dario Alvarez threw 25 pitches last night.

The rest of the pen consists of Tony Barnette (who threw 14 pitches last night), Sam Dyson, Jeremy Jeffress, Keone Kela, and Matt Bush.

The Rangers almost certainly are going to have to put someone on the disabled list tomorrow -- either Cole Hamels or Jose Leclerc, or possibly both -- to get a fresh arm or two up for Nick Martinez’s start tomorrow. Anthony Bass, I’m guessing, will be back in the majors as the long man, and I’d be surprised if he weren’t en route to Houston as we speak.