PHOENIX -- The Rangers are on the market for starting pitching depth, and it’s easy to see why.
Edinson Volquez, who is on the 10-day injured list with a sprained right elbow and not sure he will ever pitch again, will be examined Thursday in Texas. Then, there are Luke Farrell (broken jaw) and Yohander Méndez (sprained elbow), who were injured in Spring Training, and Jason Hammel, who unexpectedly retired.
“That’s four pitchers either on the team or on the upper level of depth,” Rangers general manager Jon Daniels said. “That’s something we are going to look at.”
The Rangers could add a pitcher via waivers or the free-agent market. The list of available free agents with big league experience includes Dallas Keuchel, James Shields, Edwin Jackson, Yovani Gallardo, Miguel Gonzalez, who had surgery last season, along with Chris Tillman, who signed a Minor League deal with Texas last year, and Bartolo Colon, who also pitched in Texas last season.
The Keuchel question remains a complicated one. His acquisition is also a longshot at this point.
The Astros would receive a pick after Competitive Balance Round B from the team that signs Keuchel. If the Rangers signed Keuchel, they would lose their Competitive Balance Round A Draft pick acquired from Milwaukee after trading Alex Claudio to the Brewers.
“That adds a wrinkle,” Daniels said.
Should the Rangers stay in-house, they could turn to right-hander Ariel Jurado and left-hander Taylor Hearn at Triple-A Nashville. Joe Palumbo, Brock Burke and Jonathan Hernandez are at Double-A Frisco.
A large contingent of Rangers executives that includes co-chairman Ray Davis, ownership committee and chief operating officer Neil Leibman, executive vice president of business operations Rob Matwick, medical director Jamie Reed and Daniels are in Arizona to examine the new artificial surface at Chase Field in preparation for the club’s move into a new ballpark next season.
The Rangers will use a similar surface from Shaw Sport Turf and have worked hand-in-hand with the D-backs throughout the process. The synthetic grass playing surface was designed by Shaw Sports Turf in conjunction with an extensive study at Auburn University,
“For me, I think it’s more about maintenance and upkeep,” Daniels said. “The big decisions are effectively made. It’s, ‘What are they learning from the day to day?’ From playability and player comfort and the things they are learning will help us skip some steps in the process, and I think we will benefit from that.”
The Rangers still have to decide if they will use the artificial surface or dirt for the warning track at the new stadium. They are also discussing which subsurface material -- concrete or an organic compound -- will work best, observing watering patterns among other details.
“The Diamondbacks have been very forthcoming,” Matwick said. “As history goes, we have engaged in the Auburn study and the Shaw people a long time before the Diamondbacks found out what we were doing, and sort of took advantage of our research and diligence and were able to come in on top of that. They said, ‘We appreciate the exchange of information, and you guys were nice enough to take us to Auburn and show us what was happening there. The least we could do is reciprocate.’”
Words by Wisdom
Infielder Patrick Wisdom was called up from Triple-A Nashville on Sunday and started Tuesday at third base in place of Asdrubal Cabrera, who was given the day off. Wisdom will split time with Logan Forsythe at first while Ronald Guzman is on the 10-day injured list with a Grade 2 right hamstring strain.
“I’m up here to help the team win,” Wisdom said. “It’s a shame how it happened, and you never want to see guys go down, especially your teammates. It’s a tough pill to swallow. I’m here to take up where [Guzman] left off.”
Cabrera, who traveled to Miami to work on obtaining U.S. citizenship on Monday, will return to the lineup Wednesday. Otherwise, Cabrera likely would have been in Tuesday's lineup against D-backs starter Zack Greinke, who he is 16-for-37 with three doubles and a triple against in his career.
“It’s a good feeling. We want to be part of the country,” Cabrera said. “We’re pretty excited. We’re always thinking that when I stopped playing baseball, we want to stay here. I’m always going to go back to my country.”