TORONTO -- The Rangers announced Saturday that they have placed right-handed pitcher Jon Gray on the 10-day injured list with a right middle finger blister and recalled right-hander Spencer Patton from Triple-A Round Rock.
Gray took a no-decision in Friday night’s season opener at Toronto, when he faced the minimum through three innings before permitting three runs in his fourth and final inning. The first date he would be eligible to return from the injured list is April 19.
After the game, Gray said a blister opened up on his right middle finger between the third and fourth innings and the skin began rubbing on the laces of the ball. He noted that it became a mental issue because he couldn’t trust his stuff.
“I think it's just being proactive,” said manager Chris Woodward of putting Gray on the IL. “I've been around some guys who have had a blister and try to pitch through it. He made a really good lineup look silly for the first three innings, one time through the lineup. He was overpowering. If he's going to try to pitch through it, he can't spin it the way he normally does. Why would we do that at this point, when we can just take the time if it's just the 10 days? If that’s what it takes to get that thing fully healed and he gets back to what we saw at the beginning of the game, that’s what we want.”
Woodward added that Gray should be ready for the Rangers’ series opener against the Mariners on April 19. Until then, Texas will utilize a four-man rotation comprised of Dane Dunning, Spencer Howard, Martín Pérez and Taylor Hearn. Because of the two off-days between now and when Gray is eligible to return, an extra starter will not be required.
Patton is in Toronto as a member of the club’s taxi squad for this road trip, and he will be active and available in the bullpen for Saturday afternoon’s game against the Blue Jays. He was formally optioned to Round Rock on Thursday when the Rangers announced the team’s Opening Day roster. Patton posted a 6.75 ERA (4 ER/5.1 IP) over 6 Cactus League appearances this spring. He went 2-2 with a 3.83 ERA and 2 saves over 42 relief appearances for the Rangers last season, having spent a duration of the season in the Majors after his contract was selected on June 9.
With the transactions, the Rangers remain at the 40-man limit on the club’s Major League roster, along with two players (Jonathan Hernández and José Leclerc) on the 60-day injured list.