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June 12, 2012

Rangers GM Jon Daniels talks pitching injuries, Oswalt and more

The Texas Rangers pulled off quite a feat last season, going through the entire season with the same five starters. There was an occasional spot start, of course, but C.J. Wilson, Colby Lewis, Derek Holland, Matt Harrison and Alexi Ogando didn't spend any time on the disabled list.

They haven't been that fortunate this season.

The Rangers placed Ogando on the disabled list Tuesday (retroactive to Monday) with a right groin strain. He's the third member of the Opening Day pitching staff to land on the DL, joining Derek Holland and Neftali Feliz. The Rangers have yet to announce a starter for Saturday's game against Houston.

Ogando, who was making his first start of the season in place of Holland on Sunday at San Francisco, injured his groin trying to beat out a bunt single.

"We've got to weather the storm," general manager Jon Daniels said. "That's part of the reason we added [Roy] Oswalt, you can never have enough pitching. We've had three injuries in the last few weeks. If there's a silver lining, it's that these guys are going to get a forced rest, forced period of inactivity. Hopefully that makes them stronger in the second half."

Daniels gave promising progress reports on Holland and Feliz. Holland is improving and will meet with team physician Keith Meister later this week to determine when he can begin a throwing program. Feliz, meanwhile, has seen improvement in his right elbow, and the Rangers are hopeful he can begin a throwing program shortly after he hits the four-week mark this weekend.

As far as Saturday's start, Daniels said the team is considering options. Reliever Robbie Ross would seem to be the leading candidate after throwing four scoreless innings on Sunday. Michael Kirkman, who was recalled from Triple A Round Rock with Ogando landing on the DL, has also been stretched out as a starter of late.

The Ogando injury doesn't appear to have a direct affect on Oswalt, who makes his third minor league start tonight for Double A Frisco.

"As we've said all along, we'll evaluate it after that," Daniels said. "It's going to be predicated on how he's feeling and how he's doing. ... Make sure he's 100 percent ready to go when we bring him up."

Daniels went on to say it's too early to tell if the Rangers will need to look outside the organization for pitching help.

"Still probably a month away from the trade market heating up, or at least a few weeks," he said. "That's not where our mindset is. Our mindset is more to weather the storm and get our guys back and reassess at that point."

-- Drew Davison

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