Texas Rangers catcher Robinson Chirinos left last night’s game with a sprained ankle, and it was anticipated that Brett Nicholas would be called up from AAA Round Rock today to be Jonathan Lucroy’s backup.
Levi Weaver tweeted that Chirinos was in the locker room before today’s game walking with no assistance and without a limp, which is good news, but the Rangers are playing it safe, and have recalled Nicholas today.
The more interesting move is what was done to make room for Nicholas on the 25 man roster, as righthanded pitcher Tyson Ross has been placed on the 10 day disabled list with a blister on his finger.
Ross was yesterday’s starter and was chased early in what was his second awful start in a row. Ross has now made 7 starts for the Rangers, logging just 32.1 IP, and putting up a 7.52 ERA and a 5.72 FIP. In his absence, the Rangers can use the Thursday offday to re-shuffle the rotation, but would still need to have someone else start in Ross’s place at least by Tuesday.
The candidates to fill Ross’s spot would be Austin Bibens-Dirkx, currently working as a long man in the bullpen; Nick Martinez, currently starting for AAA Round Rock; and A.J. Griffin, currently on the 60 day d.l. and on a rehab assignment. Griffin is eligible to return from the 60 day d.l. later this week, and could be activated and slotted into the rotation, but it is possible the Rangers may want him to stay longer on the rehab stint and use one of the other two in a spot role.
The bigger issue is what to do with Ross. He missed all but one game of last season with shoulder problems, and then had TOS surgery. His recovery from surgery meant Ross started this season on the d.l., and he didn’t look great in his rehab starts in the minors before being activated. Ross’s fastball and slider are both off around 2 mph from his career averages, and his 7.2% swinging strike rate is well off where he was in his best years.
The Rangers signed Ross in the hopes that he would be able to rebound from last year’s lost season and be close to the pitcher he was from 2013-15. Unfortunately, Ross has been a shell of his old self, and is now a two pitch (fastball/slider) pitcher without the stuff or command to thrive.