The Rangers announced a series of roster moves today, with right-hander Glenn Otto and catcher Mitch Garver heading to the COVID-related injured list. Infielder Andy Ibanez was also optioned to Triple-A. Brad Miller has been reinstated from the injured list to take one of the open roster spots, while right-handers Tyson Miller and Jesus Tinoco have been added as “replacement players”.
The Rangers now have three players on the COVID list, as Brett Martin was sent there a few days ago. The timing is particularly unfortunate for the Rangers, as Otto was scheduled to start tonight’s contest. Instead, Matt Bush will be taking the ball in what will be an emergency bullpen game.
It’s unclear if the players have tested positive or instead have landed on the shelf due to a close contact or the presence of symptoms. Without a positive test, there’s no minimum stay on the IL. But in the case of a positive test, MLB’s 2022 health regulations stipulate a 10-day absence, though a pair of negative PCR tests and approval from a trio of medical professionals (team doctor, league-appointed doctor, MLBPA-appointed doctor) can override that 10-day requirement. The club is starting a stretch of playing ten days in a row, meaning they may need to think about Otto’s next turn through the rotation as well.
The fact that Miller and Tinoco have been announced as “replacement players” is significant. Under the 2022 health and safety protocols, commissioner Rob Manfred has sole discretion to decide whether a team’s COVID situation is significant enough to warrant such a designation. It seems that he has done so in this case. That means that Miller and Tinoco can be removed from the team’s 40-man roster at a later date without being subject to waivers.
For Garver, this will be another speed bump in a season that has had a couple of them. After going on the injured list due to a flexor strain, he returned in late May but was acting exclusively as a designated hitter or pinch hitter. It was reported a couple of weeks ago that, due to the injury limited Garver’s throwing ability, the club intended to continue putting his bat in the lineup but didn’t plan on letting him resume catching duties anytime soon, possibly for the entire season. Now on the IL, he won’t even be able to take on that limited role for the time being.