Texas Rangers pitcher Jon Gray is listed as the probable starter for the team’s game against the Toronto Blue Jays on Sunday, June 18. That would be Gray’s normal spot in the rotation order — his start on Tuesday was skipped due to his dealing with a blister, and Cody Bradford was called up to make the start. On the broadcast last night they showed Gray throwing a bullpen session, and the report afterwards was that it went well.
Evan Grant writes that the Rangers could opt to go with a six man rotation for part of this current stretch of 30 games in 31 days, with Bradford filling the role as the sixth starter. Alternatively, Bradford could be in a long man role in the bullpen for the time being.
Coming into spring training, Jake Odorizzi’s role was anticipated to be as a long man/swingman out of the bullpen, and it sounds like it was contemplated that he would make occasional spot starts as was deemed appropriate. Bradford could end up in that sort of situation for now.
On a related note, the Rangers will have both Cole Ragans, who was just sent down, and Glenn Otto working as starters for Round Rock. Each will need to be stretched out, but the plan is for them to get stretched out and work on a starter’s schedule. Given the lack of rotation depth currently, it makes sense for each to be stretched out and able to be tapped should the Rangers need to look to the minors for a starter. Each would also still seem to be a potential major league bullpen option if needed — being stretched out as a starter wouldn’t prohibit either from being used as shorter relief stints in the majors as necessary.
The Rangers have Kyle Funkhouser and Danny Duffy working at AA in relief roles, and just signed Ryan Tepera to a minor league deal after he was released by the Angels last month. Tepera pitched an inning for Round Rock on Wednesday. The veterans given the Rangers additional short-term options for the bullpen that they would be able to turn to, if needed, giving them additional flexibility with how they handle Otto and Ragans.