Texas Rangers rotation and probable pitchers: The Texas Rangers have announced that pitcher Doug Fister, who has been on the disabled list with a right hip strain, will be activated from the d.l. on Wednesday, April 25, when he will start against the Oakland A’s. In addition, per Evan Grant on Twitter, Bartolo Colon will start on Saturday, April 28, on the road in Toronto.
Fister’s addition will likely require the Rangers to remove a pitcher from the active roster to make room for him. The Rangers promoted Jose Leclerc over the weekend, sending down Ryan Rua to add Leclerc, and that left the Rangers with a three man bench. It would be very unlikely that Texas would go to a two man bench, so someone will have to be dropped for Fister.
The simplest solution would be to send Leclerc back down to AAA Round Rock. However, Leclerc has been solid this year, and several others in the pen have not...its possible that Leclerc could stick around and either Matt Bush or Alex Claudio, who have both struggled and who both have options remaining, could be sent down. Alternatively, if Matt Moore, who has been up and down this season, struggles in his start today, you could see the Rangers make a d.l. move with him.
The decision to start Fister on Wednesday and Colon on Saturday also opens up the possibility for a d.l. trip for Mike Minor. Wednesday would have been Minor’s spot in the rotation, but he would have had to have pitched on four days rest, something the team has been seeking to avoid doing early on in the year. The Rangers could have Martin Perez start on Friday, on normal rest after his start Sunday, and then go with Colon on Saturday, Cole Hamels on Sunday on normal rest (since he has expressed a preference for pitching on four days’ rest), and then either Moore on Monday with a week’s rest or Fister on Monday with normal rest. Should the Rangers start Minor on Friday instead, having Colon on Saturday throws off the rest of the rotation, since slotting Hamels in on Sunday means having Moore and Perez both go more than a week between starts. Even if you had either Moore or Perez pitch Sunday, with Hamels pitching on Monday with extra rest, either Moore or Perez would be pitching on long rest, and the other would still be going more than a week between starts.
Oh, and as an additional potential complication, Tony Barnette is eligible to return from the disabled list on Wednesday, as well. While he may not be activated then, when he is activated, there will need to be another pitcher moved off the active roster to clear space for him.
So there’s quite a bit of juggling that will need to go on to keep the rotation in a semblance of order and to get guys active. My guess is that a starting pitcher — likely either Moore or Minor, since Jeff Banister said after yesterday’s game that Perez wasn’t pitching yesterday to preserve his spot in the rotation -- gets stashed on the 10 day d.l. and has a start skipped to make room for Fister, and then either Bush goes down when Barnette is activated, or Jesse Chavez is waived or d.l.’d.
UPDATE — T.R. Sullivan writes that the plan is for Minor to start Friday, Perez Sunday and Hamels Monday.