DateJuly 31, 2012

Rangers demote struggling Roy Oswalt to the bullpen

UPDATE: No matter the reason(s) for Oswalt’s struggles, the Rangers have decided to demote him to the bullpen following their trade for Ryan Dempster. Last time Oswalt made more than one relief appearance in a season? As a 23-year-old rookie in 2001.


Roy Oswalt got lit up for three homers and a total of eight runs by the Angels last night, and afterward the 34-year-old right-hander told Richard Durrett of ESPN Dallas that his long layoff between starts was to blame.

Oswalt skipped his last turn in the rotation because of back soreness, so he went 12 days between starts, and his mechanics were out of whack:

I need to get a more consistent arm angle. Sometimes I’m down, sometimes I’m too far up. I can’t find that spot that felt great. Not getting to throw for 11 or 12 days, sometimes that happens.

On one hand prior to last night Oswalt had put together back-to-back solid starts. On the other hand he now has a 6.49 ERA and .333 opponents’ batting average in six starts overall, so if his mechanics are to blame for getting knocked around it isn’t something new.

And his struggles are among the reasons why the Rangers are linked to seemingly every veteran starter potentially on the trading block.

Neftali Feliz to have Tommy John Surgery; 2013 in question

An hour after fortifying their starting rotation with the acquisition of RHP Ryan Dempster, the club confirmed a worst-case scenario with RHP Neftali Feliz. He has a tear in his ulnar collateral ligament and will require Tommy John ligament transplant surgery.

Feliz, 24, was diagnosed with a sprained ligament in his elbow in May and then placed on the DL. He passed all tests and began a rehab assignment with Double-A Frisco in mid-July. After three starts, however, he complained of more elbow soreness and was scratched from an outing with Triple-A Round Rock.

Feliz was 3-1 with a 3.16 ERA this season for the Rangers in eight games, seven starts.

The question that will arise now is whether the manner in which the Rangers handled Feliz during the past two spring trainings. He has bounced between preparing as a starter and pitching as a reliever. A year ago, he worked as a starter all through spring, then moved back to the closer’s role. He spent two weeks on the DL with some shoulder inflammation, but had no further problems in 2011.

Over the winter, the Rangers gave him instructions to prepare as if he was going to be a starter. He was awarded a spot in the rotation at the beginning of the year and had pitched there until May without issue.

The normal recovery time for Tommy John surgery ranges from 12-15 months. It likely means Feliz will miss most, if not all, of the 2013 season.

We weren’t expecting that! The Rangers land Ryan Dempster

After more than a week of flirtation with the Dodgers, a brief fling with the Braves, and then some footsie with the Yankees, Ryan Dempster has been traded.  To the Rangers. In exchange, the Cubs get third baseman Christian Villanueva and RHP Kyle Hendricks.

There were rumblings this morning that the Rangers were involved, but many figured that it was simply a matter of the Cubs trying to leverage Dempster’s first choice — the Dodgers — into paying what they want.  That didn’t happen, however, and late this afternoon word came down that Dempster had given approval for a trade to either the Dodgers, the Yankees or the Rangers. And Jon Daniels sealed the deal.

Villanueva is only 21 years-old. He’s hitting .285/.356/.421 with ten homers for high-A Myrtle Beach. He’s something of a sleeper. His teammate, Hendricks, is 5-8 with a 2.82 ERA and 112 strikeouts in 130.2 innings with only 15 walks. He’ll turn 23 in December

Parents defend embattled 11-year-old daughter’s rendition of National Anthem

From Off the Bench:

Eleven-year-old Harper Gruzins is taking some heat for her rendition of The Star Spangled Banner at an MLS game in Dallas on Saturday: we showed you the video this morning, but here it is again below. Since I’m not Howie Mandel or Sharon Osbourne, I’ll refrain from critiquing preteen singers in this blog. But The Dallas Observer called Gruzins’ National Anthem “simply indefensible”, and Deadspin wrote that it was “so bad it must be heard to be believed.” And Deadspin knows what it’s talking about here, as it is run by 11-year-olds.

Gruzins’ parents are a bit miffed at all of this, as one might imagine.

Gruzins’ father, Karlis Gruzins, said the “mean and hateful” comments are “really sad.”

“I don’t understand it,” he told FoxNews. “My natural tendency is to yank her from everything, but she just loves to do it.”

Harper, who hails from Coppell, Texas, said that her performance was “off” because she couldn’t hear herself amidst the cheers of the 22,000 fans.

“It wasn’t my best performance because I couldn’t hear myself and the blowhorns got me off key,” Harper told FoxNews. “But God allowed this to happen, so I know it’s what he wants. So I wouldn’t change it. Next time I hope there’s no blowhorns.”

Look, at 11 we are all products of our environment — so instead of blaming the kid, why don’t we blame all the adults who are churning out labored, over-produced, off-key National Anthems at sporting events on a daily basis? With role models like Roseanne and Steven Tyler, is it no wonder this young girl went astray?

But most of all I think it’s adorable how so many people are suddenly so interested in the National Anthem at an MLS game. What’s next, criticism of the Rhythmic Gymnastics awards ceremony?


And the Clock Strikes Midnight

The trade deadline is here and we can finally put to bed any and all trade rumors in Major League Baseball unless there is one last gasp of any deals that haven’t been mentioned yet.

It looks like my enthusiasm for Cliff Lee was dumbfounded (again), so excuse me for trying to have a glimmer of hope that the Rangers would get any pitching help before the deadline. I’ll be candid when I say I don’t feel comfortable with the Rangers’ picthing rotaion right now. I know, I know, the guys are pitching their hearts out and really trying, but in my mind, there isn’t a solid go-to guy like a Cliff Lee, or (gulp) C.J. Wilson in the mix this year. Oh sure, we had Colby Lewis, but as you all know he is hurt, and won’t be back from his second Tommy John surgery until next year. So it looks like pitching wise, we dance with who brought us. Too many teams wanted to do trades with the Rangers, but wanted to rob our farm system and I applaud Ranger management for not letting that happen. I also wonder at the same time, what about this year? Will the Rangers even make it to the playoffs? There is a good chance the Angels AND the A’s represent the west, and the Rangers could be sitting home come post season time. Only time will tell.

Here is some new news on the Rangers though..Torrealba likely to be traded. According to T. L. Sullivan, Industry sources say that Yorvit Torrealba has been designated for assignment. The Rangers have ten days to trade him or release him. A source said Torrealba is likely to be traded. The Rangers are doing that to make room for catcher Geovany Soto, who was acquired from the Cubs for pitcher Jacob Brigham. That means Torrealba is off the 40-man roster and will be either traded, waived or released. That kind of surprises me because I thought Torrealba was the catcher who always caught Yu Darvish. I don’t know what happened there, but the Rangers got tired of him I guess. Since i don’t have media credentials to ranger games, I can’t ask that question. Additional information from Sullivan: The Rangers are clearly dissatisfied with catcher Yorvit Torrealba and he could be part of another transaction in the next 24 hours. The Rangers are hoping Soto can return to the level he has been at the past four years. They are not worried about trading pitcher Jacob Brigham. Obviously he wasn’t one of their top prospects.

So, that’s about it (maybe) for your Texas Rangers and the trade deadline. The only other rumor is Matt Garza, but I’m not going to get my hopes up again.



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