Dunning placed on 15-day IL with right rotator cuff strain

May 8th, 2024

OAKLAND -- The Rangers may have the best rotation in baseball on the injured list as we speak.

Texas right-hander landed on the injured list on Wednesday with a right rotator cuff strain, joining fellow starters Nathan Eovaldi, Max Scherzer, Jacob deGrom, Cody Bradford and Tyler Mahle on the IL.

“This is just being cautious,” manager Bruce Bochy said. “We think he should be fine when his IL time is up, the 15 days. We could have pushed him back a couple days, but then you're risking having a setback. We said, 'Let's get this thing cleared up, and he’ll be good to go in 15 days.'”

Dunning posted a 4.10 ERA over his first seven starts for the Rangers this season. He ranked among staff leaders in starts (tied for first with seven), strikeouts (second, 43) and innings (third, 37 1/3).

Though he hasn’t been quite as good as he was in 2023, when he was named the Rangers Pitcher of the Year after posting a 3.70 ERA over a team-high 172 2/3 innings, it’s clearly another huge hit to an injured rotation.

The Rangers' healthy starters are Jon Gray, Andrew Heaney and Michael Lorenzen, with prospects Jack Leiter and Owen White positioned as depth options. Reliever José Ureña, who started Tuesday’s win over the A’s, is also an option to move to the rotation.

Texas will conclude its 10-game, 11-day road trip with a three-game set in Colorado this weekend, though there are no scheduled pitchers for any of those games yet. With an off-day on Thursday, Bochy may reset the rotation and work things out.

“I don't have it down completely yet,” Bochy said. “But yeah, we’re covered. You hate to see this happening with our starters, but we think we have coverage.”

The Rangers are hoping that both Eovaldi and Scherzer will return sooner rather than later.

Bochy said the team got “good news” on Eovaldi after he saw a specialist in New York for his groin injury. He was checked for a sports hernia, but he was in the clear with a simple groin strain. The team thinks he’ll be back close to when he's eligible to return on May 18.

The Rangers pushed Scherzer’s scheduled April 30 rehab start with Double-A Frisco back a few days because of right thumb soreness. Scherzer said he experienced some soreness in his right thumb after his first rehab outing with Triple-A Round Rock on April 24. He traveled with the team on the road trip but had yet to throw off a mound.

“We shut him down for a few days,” said general manager Chris Young. “He was feeling some discomfort still in that lower thumb, upper wrist area and decided that before we progress with him, we want to make sure he's fully recovered. My hope is that he starts feeling better and we can pick up where we left off and continue his rehab and join us soon, but we're not going to do anything in terms of sending him back out until he's fully healthy and feeling perfect.”