Unsettled bullpen means unsettled rotation

Unsettled bullpen means unsettled rotation

ARLINGTON -- The Rangers' unsettled bullpen has left them undecided about their starting pitcher for Wednesday's game against the Angels.

Anthony Bass is one candidate, but he was back in the bullpen on Monday after throwing 63 pitches in the home opener against the Astros on Friday. If Bass is not needed on Monday or Tuesday, he would likely end up starting on Wednesday.

"I'd like to get through tonight and see where we are at," manager Jeff Banister said prior to the series opener with the Angels. "We definitely have some options for Wednesday."

If Bass can't go, the Rangers could either bring up right-hander Anthony Ranaudo or left-hander Wandy Rodriguez from Triple-A. Ranaudo is scheduled to pitch for Round Rock on Tuesday, and Rodriguez is scheduled for Thursday. Luke Jackson pitches on Wednesday, but he allowed five runs in four innings in his first start, last Friday. Ranaudo pitched five scoreless in his first start.

The Rangers needed Bass in the bullpen on Monday because their relief corps was worked hard in the first seven games of the season. Monday's game was the eighth straight the Rangers played without a day off; their first off-day isn't until Thursday.

Neftali Feliz, Shawn Tolleson and Phil Klein entered Monday having pitched in three straight games, and their availability for Monday was questionable. Klein has pitched in five of seven games. Newly acquired Stolmy Pimentel is the only reliever not to pitch in Sunday's 14-inning loss to the Astros.

Banister said the Rangers considered bringing up reinforcements from Triple-A but felt they had enough options to get through Monday.

The Rangers could have Tanner Scheppers back as early as Wednesday. Scheppers, who began the season on the disabled list with a sprained right ankle, pitched back-to-back games at Double-A Frisco this past weekend without any problems. The Rangers are going to give him a day or two off and then activate him.

"We like what we've seen," Banister said. "It was more about logging pitches and getting the innings in."

"I feel like I have done everything necessary," Scheppers said. "I got my work in, I feel good and I trust myself."

Banister on Rangers' injuries

Rua, Bonilla get bad news: In addition to a severe sprain, outfielder Ryan Rua has been diagnosed with a small displaced fracture in the heel of his right foot and may not return until June.

Even so, that's a better situation than that of pitcher Lisalverto Bonilla, who has a torn ligament in his right elbow and will undergo Tommy John surgery on Friday. He will be sidelined for at least a year and well into next season.

Rua will be sporting a boot for at least three weeks, and then he will be re-evaluated. Even if he is cleared for baseball activities, he would likely need another three weeks or more before he can be an option at the big league level.

Worth noting

• With Rua out, the left-handed-hitting Carlos Peguero and right-handed-hitting Jake Smolinski will be playing much of the time in left. But Banister is not ready to commit to a strict platoon, and Delino DeShields will also see time out there.

• Reliever Kyuji Fujikawa, on the DL with tightness in his right groin, threw 30 pitches in a simulated game on Sunday without any issues. If he gets through some fielding drills, the next step could be a rehab assignment at Double-A Frisco.

T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields, and follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.