Rangers shuffle staff with Howard to IL, Richards back in mix

Club will contact trace after Santana lands on COVID IL

April 14th, 2022

ARLINGTON -- The Rangers made a number of roster moves Thursday, most notably placing right-handed pitcher Dennis Santana on the COVID-19 list ahead of the club’s four-game set against the Angels.

Santana tested negative when the Rangers left Toronto after Opening Day, but he arrived symptomatic Thursday morning and was given another test. Texas is still going through contact tracing protocols and is in contact with the league for any potential further positive tests.

The Rangers had a COVID outbreak last season during an August road trip that ended with seven total players going on the IL. COVID protocols in 2022 are more eased than they have been in the last two years. Under the new guidelines, Santana will miss a minimum of five days and must be asymptomatic for two days in a row.

“It has to be crossing your mind,” general manager Chris Young said of a potential outbreak. “We’re being proactive and making sure that we're doing everything possible, but we just learned of this. And like I said, we’re following the necessary steps to make sure we protect everybody, whether it's COVID or not.”

The Rangers also placed Friday’s scheduled starter, right-hander Spencer Howard, on the 10-day IL with a blister/cracked finger nail, retroactive to April 11. Howard is the third Texas pitcher to spend time on the IL, joining Garrett Richards and Opening Day starter Jon Gray.

The two corresponding roster moves include Richards returning from a blister-related IL stint and right-handed reliever Nick Snyder getting recalled from Triple-A Round Rock. Snyder is available for Thursday night’s game against the Angels.

Snyder has only logged two innings since the start of the Triple-A season, but he notched a save and has yet to give up a hit or a run.

Though the two additions bring reinforcements to the bullpen, the Rangers are now down two starters, though Gray should return before the club takes on Seattle on April 19. Texas is likely to go with a bullpen game Friday against the Angels with Howard on the injured list.

If Gray returns fully healthy, the Rangers may continue with a four-man rotation with Dane Dunning, Taylor Hearn and Martín Pérez joining Gray until Howard returns from the IL.

Young confirmed that the Rangers would not be calling up another Triple-A pitcher to slot into a starting position unless the bullpen gets depleted during the series against the Angels. Internal options to open include Brock Burke and Kolby Allard, who both have starting experience and are currently being used as long-relief options out of the bullpen.

“I think we're going to be fine,” Young said. “It’ll be to be determined for tomorrow. We'll regroup with our pitching group and [manager Chris Woodward] later tonight and kind of figure out how we'll attack tomorrow's game. But I think we have some good options with our bullpen arms right now and we'll determine which route to go.”