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After G1 loss, Palumbo placed on Triple-A IL

Lefty exits start with blister, unlikely to pitch until September
@Sullivan_Ranger
August 20, 2019

ARLINGTON -- Rangers manager Chris Woodward has observed that there has been a “little bit of a black cloud” following left-handed pitcher Joe Palumbo around. It was there again on Tuesday afternoon in a 5-1 loss to the Angels in Game 1 of a doubleheader at Globe Life Park. The

ARLINGTON -- Rangers manager Chris Woodward has observed that there has been a “little bit of a black cloud” following left-handed pitcher Joe Palumbo around. It was there again on Tuesday afternoon in a 5-1 loss to the Angels in Game 1 of a doubleheader at Globe Life Park.

The Rangers were ready for Palumbo to get an extended look in their rotation but that has been put on hold again after he exited his start against the Angels in the second inning with a blister on his left thumb. Palumbo was supposed to start against the White Sox on Sunday but instead has been placed on the injured list at Triple-A Nashville. The Rangers are hoping he will return in September, but that’s only if the blister doesn’t linger.

Box score

“It’s tough to say,” Woodward said. “It depends on how fast the skin underneath grows back and if it keeps tearing every time he pitches. If he does that, it’s going to take a little while longer. If it doesn’t, once the skin heals, he’s going to be fine. [We won’t] know until it heals, and he starts throwing again. That could be at least a week, so I’m guessing that won’t be until September.”

Angels starter Andrew Heaney had no issues on Tuesday in the summer heat, holding the Rangers to one run on four hits over eight innings. He struck out a career-high 14 and did not walk a batter. Texas’ only run off him was a sixth-inning home run from Willie Calhoun.

Palumbo’s issue could open the way for left-hander Brock Burke to get an extended look in the rotation. Both were called up from Triple-A Nashville on Tuesday to pitch in the doubleheader against the Angels. The plan was for Burke to go back to Nashville after this start, but he may be the one who pitches on Sunday against the White Sox.

“It's not good,” Palumbo said. “I've never had one before. I've never really had to deal with blisters; never had one in this spot, so it's a first. It just developed. I noticed it probably at the end of the first inning. Probably 15 pitches in, it started to form. When I went out for the second inning, I would only really feel it on the curveball. The curveball split it open. It just sucks.”

This was Palumbo’s third start for the Rangers this season. He made a spot start against the A's on June 8 and another against the Indians on June 19 that was supposed to be the beginning of an extended look. But he allowed seven runs in two innings and the Rangers sent him back to Triple-A. They wanted to bring him back in July, but a strained left ankle prevented that, and Pedro Payano was called up instead. Palumbo also had Tommy John surgery in 2017.

Now this.

Dodgers left-hander Rich Hill missed two months with a recurring blister in 2018, although that was on his index finger.

“It makes it hard,” Woodward said. “Not ideal. Hopefully it won’t be long. We have to make sure this doesn’t linger and make him miss all of September as well. It can. It seems simple like a blister, but I saw it keep [Hill] out for two months. What you think is a small thing can turn into a big thing if you don’t take care of it. If he only gets two or three or four starts in September, so be it. We’ve got to make sure we get as many as we can without him missing the rest of the year.”

Palumbo gave up three runs in the first inning, including a two-run home run to Mike Trout. He retired the first two hitters in the second inning and was ahead 1-2 on Trout when Rangers officials were summoned to the mound. Woodward wasted little time in taking Palumbo out of the game after throwing just 40 pitches.

“I felt like I was getting into a pretty good rhythm, but the whole blister thing,” Palumbo said. “It obviously took me out of the game. I thought I was executing a little better in the second inning. It definitely sucks being down, but I'll take a blister over my shoulder or elbow.”

T.R. Sullivan has covered the Rangers since 1989, and for MLB.com since 2006. Follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger and listen to his podcast.