ARLINGTON, Texas -- So what can the Texas Rangers' front office do about the starting rotation now that Matt Harrison is out until probably just after the All-Star break? Well, maybe not much right now.
It's mid-April, and teams aren't exactly ready to start talking trades for starting pitchers, at least ones that would be an upgrade to the current staff. And that's the biggest question for the Rangers: What can they do to improve the rotation over the young arms already in it? If they can't find a pitcher that is obviously a better option than Nick Tepesch or Justin Grimm, they're better off letting their young pitchers pitch and see what happens.
The Rangers are in this spot because they didn't have enough depth to overcome a few injuries before the season started. Martin Perez, likely on his way to earning the No. 5 spot in the rotation, was hit by a line drive in the forearm and is out until May. Colby Lewis is still rehabbing from surgery, and the club has put June 1 as the official date for his return. Beyond Tepesch and Grimm, they could look at Triple-A Round Rock and give Josh Lindblom (a reliever who is now starting) or Brad Mills (picked up off waivers in March from the Angels) a chance. Lindblom, acquired in the Michael Young trade, is 1-0 with a 0.75 ERA but has made just two starts as he builds up arm strength. Mills has won all three of his starts and has a 1.42 ERA in 19 innings with 14 strikeouts and four walks.
There don't appear to be many external possibilities. The Houston Astros will want a high price in prospects for Bud Norris or Lucas Harrell, if they considered moving them. Ted Lilly, once a trade candidate, will join the Dodgers rotation next week after Chris Capuano aggravated his calf injury. Roy Oswalt is still out there. I'm kidding, folks. So is Carlos Zambrano. Again, not a better option than what the Rangers have currently.
It seems like, at this point, Texas must ride this out. With Perez and Lewis on schedule to return in the next month or two (Neftali Feliz, likely a bullpen candidate, probably wouldn't be back before the All-Star break), the Rangers hope the young arms can do the job until those reinforcements arrive.