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INGTON -- Right-handed pitcher Justin Grimm is jumping from Double-A Frisco into the Rangers' rotation and reliever Koji Uehara is going on the disabled list with a strained lat muscle under his right armpit. The Rangers are also putting Neftali Feliz on the 60-day disabled list.
Grimm, who was 8-3 with a 1.87 ERA in 13 starts for Frisco, will be called up Saturday to pitch against the Astros. He jumps over left-hander Martin Perez and right-hander Neil Ramirez, two highly regarded prospects who are struggling at Triple-A Round Rock. The Rangers also prefered Grimm instead of bringing either Robbie Ross or Michael Kirkman out of the bullpen.
"We looked at all our options, the guys on the ballclub and the guys down below, and felt Justin was most ready to step in and help us win a game," Rangers general manager Jon Daniels said.
Ross is the one Rangers reliever closest to being ready to step into the rotation, but manager Ron Washington was adamant about not wanting to take him out of the bullpen.
"I don't care how good your starting pitching is, you need a bullpen," Washington said. "You can't find a successful team without a bullpen. If you don't have one, just see where you end up."
Uehara injured his lat muscle in his last outing against the Giants on Saturday. He came in the next day feeling stiffness, and a subsequent MRI showed the muscle was strained. Neal Cotts strained his lat muscle pitching in Spring Training and was sidelined for over two months. He has just started pitching again at Triple-A Round Rock.
"It's the same type of injury, only on a smaller scale," Daniels said. "Neal's strain was a lot bigger. Our guess is no throwing for two weeks. It all depends on when he is pain-free. When that happens, we'll get him on a throwing program. Being a short reliever, it shouldn't take long."
To make room for Grimm on the 40-man roster, the Rangers will place Feliz on the 60-day disabled list. He has been sidelined with a sprained right elbow and has not pitched since May 18. Feliz is expected to resume throwing next week, and the Rangers weren't expecting him back until after the All-Star Game.
Putting him on the 60-day disabled list won't delay his return. More likely, it will keep the Rangers from rushing him back. He is eligible to come off the disabled list on July 18.
"We talked about being smart with him ... not aggressive or conservative, but smart," Daniels said. "We want him back, he's a big part of our pitching staff. We don't want to risk him being back too soon."
Feliz was the first in a series of injuries that have hit the Rangers' pitching staff since the middle of May. Derek Holland and Alexi Ogando are also on the disabled list, leaving Texas scrambling to adjust its staff. Ogando went into the rotation to replace Holland and ended up straining his right groin muscle in Sunday's start against the Giants. He is sidelined for 4-6 weeks, forcing the Rangers to call up Grimm to fill that spot.
Holland, who last pitched on June 5 and has been sidelined with a stomach virus, is expected to start a throwing program on Friday, and Daniels said he could need a couple of weeks before he's ready to return. Roy Oswalt, who was signed as a free agent at the end of May, is scheduled to make his fourth Minor League start on Sunday for Triple-A Round Rock.
Oswalt is scheduled to throw 100 pitches, but the Rangers aren't sure when he'll be ready to join the Major League rotation. Oswalt, who had a bullpen session at the Ballpark in Arlington on Thursday, is 0-1 with a 7.71 ERA in his first three starts.
"It could be better, and he knows that, also," Washington said. "But the big thing is he came out of it healthy. He just needs to be able to get us deep into games."
Grimm, who was 3-0 with a 1.00 ERA in his past four starts, pitches on Saturday but the Rangers haven't decided if it will be just one start or possibly more than that. The Rangers are off next Thursday. That means they could skip that spot in the rotation and not need it again until June 26 against the Tigers. By then, either Holland or Oswalt could be ready.
"Right now, Justin is one of our five starters," Daniels said. "It may be one start or more, there are no guarantees. If he pitches well, the way things have gone with injuries the past few weeks, you never know."