Texas Rangers players Ronald Guzman and Nomar Mazara left yesterday’s game against the San Diego Padres prematurely due to injuries — Guzman due to banging his head into the knee of third baseman Christian Villanueva, putting him in concussion protocol and Mazara due to tweaking his hamstring beating out an infield single. Neither injury appears serious enough that either player will need to miss a significant amount of time, but the Rangers may be forced to make a roster move before today’s game due to roster construction issues.
Texas currently has a three man bench — Jurickson Profar is a utility infielder of sorts (though he’s playing basically every day), Isiah Kiner-Falefa is a utility infielder who is also the backup catcher, and Carlos Tocci is a backup outfielder. Utilizing a three man bench means that the Rangers can keep eight pitchers in the bullpen, and gives them the luxury of, for example, having both Jesse Chavez and Matt Moore as long man types out there.
The problem with a three man bench, however, is that if a position player is knicked up and potentially out for a game or two, you are perilously thin in regards to depth. Losing Mazara and Guzman yesterday left the Rangers with just IKF on the bench by game’s end, and if either or both players are limited or unavailable today, that leaves the Rangers bench short-handed. Combine that with Joey Gallo nursing a hamstring issue — which took him out of the game early on Saturday, and limited him to DH duty on Sunday — and the Rangers are in danger of running out of bodies who can play in the field. Thus, it seems likely we will see someone like Ryan Rua or Drew Robinson, who can provide some defensive versatility off the bench, or possibly even Willie Calhoun, to fortify the ranks for the time being.
With a 13 man pitching staff and off days Thursday and Monday, one possibility would be to drop a pitcher temporarily to add a position player, buying yourself more time to determine whether Guzman or Mazara will need a trip to the disabled list. The problem is a lack of viable optionable arms, however. Austin Bibens-Dirkx could be optioned, with the Rangers shuffling the rotation to utilize the off days to allow them to use four starters for the time being, but Bibens-Dirkx is pitching today, so that’s not realistic. The other optionable bullpen arms would be Jose Leclerc and Alex Claudio, but it seems unlikely the team would want to lose having either of them right now.
Otherwise, you’d be looking at cutting someone like Yovani Gallardo or Matt Moore. Gallardo, however, was just brought up to fortify the rotation, and I don’t think the Rangers are looking to move on from him already. Moore, meanwhile, has shown some improvement out of the bullpen of late — its possible they cut ties with Moore, but I don’t know that that’s the move at this point.
My guess at this point is that Guzman, who is already in the concussion protocol, gets put on the 7 day concussion disabled list. Its a way to be conservative with him and make sure he’s healthy, and due to the off days he would only miss five games if he’s able to be activated after the seven days. It would allow the Rangers to get another position player up to be available as insurance as Mazara and Gallo deal with their hamstring issues, and as Adrian Beltre continues to have his playing time monitored as he deals with his balky legs.