Jon Gray developed a blister in last night’s season opening game against the Blue Jays. Though he initially said he expected to make his next start, the club will be placing him on the IL. Spencer Patton will be recalled to take his place on the roster. (Twitter links from Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News)
Gray was signed in the offseason to a four-year, $56MM deal to front a rotation that was otherwise composed of younger and less-experienced arms. Although this set back is unfortunate news for Rangers fans, there doesn’t seem to be much need for panic. As noted by Grant, the club has a few off-days coming up (on April 13th and 18th), meaning they won’t need a fifth starter until April 23rd, two weeks from now. After the shortened Spring Training following the lockout, certain rules have been changed for the start of the season. While the minimum length of stay on the injured list for pitchers and two-way players is increasing to 15 days this season, that won’t go into effect until May 2. From April 7 through May 1, pitchers and two-way players can be placed on the 10-day injured list. This move seems to merely be a precautionary one, using the gaps in the schedule and the temporary rule change as a way to make sure Gray can quickly heal up before the six-month grind that lies ahead.
Dane Dunning is on the hill today and will take up one rotation spot. Martin Perez, who was also signed in the offseason to add some veteran presence, should have another. Taylor Hearn and Spencer Howard should have the final two slots.
As for Patton, the 34-year-old returned to MLB last year after a four-year stint in Japan. In 42 1/3 innings for the Rangers last year, he put up an ERA of 3.83 with a 27.9% strikeout rate and 8.7% walk rate.