The Texas Rangers have, as expected, activated pitcher Nathan Eovaldi from the injured list today. They have also, in an unexpected move, purchased the contract of reliever Ian Kennedy from AAA Round Rock. To make room for Eovaldi on the active roster, the Rangers have placed pitcher Josh Sborz on the injured list with a hamstring strain. To make room for Kennedy on the active and 40 man roster, the Rangers have designated pitcher Glenn Otto for assignment.
Sborz has been awful of late, and how much of that is due to his hamstring, and how much of it is due to other issues, I have no idea. I also don’t know how serious this hamstring issue is, and to what extent it is a mechanism to get him off the active roster and allow him to work on things on the side for the time being.
I was expecting Glenn Otto to be sent down to make room for Eovaldi today. What I was not expecting was for Otto to be designated for assignment. It has been a disappointing season for the 27 year old, who started the year on the injured list, and who has allowed 12 runs in 10.2 IP in the majors this year. Otto has had a 3.38 ERA at Round Rock in 29.1 IP over 10 appearances this season, and logged 27 starts for the Rangers last season.
I’m genuinely astonished that Otto has been DFA’d, and would wager that he gets claimed by one of the teams near the bottom of the standings. He was probably mis-cast as a starter, but appears to be a potentially useful major league reliever. We will see how things progress for him with another team.
Otto allowed a pair of home runs in last night’s game, and afterwards, Bruce Bochy expressed frustration over the inability of the bullpen to throw strikes and generally perform at an acceptable level. Thus, we now have Ian Kennedy back in the majors. Kennedy was released by the Rangers back in May after putting up a 7.20 ERA in 10 innings over 11 games, then was re-signed to a minor league deal in June. For Round Rock, Kennedy has put up a 3.51 ERA in 22 games, striking out 30 of 102 batters faced while walking just nine, but has also given up five home runs, which is a lot.
The Rangers pen has been a mess of late, and I am skeptical Ian Kennedy is going to represent an improvement. At this stage, though, the Rangers are casting about for a solution, and I suspect Bochy feels like Kennedy, at least, will throw strikes, even if they might get hit a long way.