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Wednesday newsletter time: Rangers sink below .500, but Gray a bigger concern

(Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports)

 

Jon Gray says he’s going to be OK. The groin discomfort he experienced Tuesday night, he said, is “very minimal.”

The Rangers, with 13 players on the injured list and pretty much out of rotation options, are praying he is OK.

The right-hander is tentatively scheduled to pitch again Sunday. That’s four days to get all that is “very minimal” to where it’s good enough to go at Target Field against the Twins.

A groin injury this early in the season, though, might linger. The Rangers, even though they can’t afford it, might be wise to err on the side of caution.

Gray had pitched well, too, in the Rangers’ eventual 5-2 loss to at Philadelphia. A comebacker got him in the fifth, and that’s when he first felt the groin discomfort. He finished the inning, and the Rangers acted quickly to get him out of the game.

While the other three members of the rotation have been good of late, they haven’t been as good as Gray. He allowed two runs in five innings, which pushed his ERA slighted to 2.21. The game might have turned out differently had Gray been able to pitch a sixth and seventh innings, but the Rangers don’t have that kind of luck right now.

Instead, the fell below .500 for the first time in the Bruce Bochy era. Until they figure out how to score runs and until they get healthy, .500 or slightly above it might be the best they can do.

One player getting healthy is right-hander Dane Dunning, who is scheduled to start tonight after a brief stint on the injured list with some discomfort in his rotator cuff. That might help shape a decision on Gray, though the Rangers would need a starter Sunday.

If Gray is good to go, the rotation is in decent shape. Nathan Eovaldi (groin) is throwing bullpen sessions, but the Rangers believe he will need some more time.

If Gray needs to be skipped, who knows? Shaun Anderson could get a look. Jack Leiter could be on call. How about Dane Acker from Double A Frisco?

Even with the Rangers’ offense in a prolonged slump, Gray now stands as the biggest concern.

Seager streaking

After struggling for much of April and into May, Corey Seager is turning things around amid the offense’s struggles.

He homered in the eighth inning Tuesday to trim a 3-1 Phillies lead to 3-2. Shoutout to the lady who used her nachos to protect a boy, presumably hers, who was going to get smoked by that ball.

Seager has reached base in 16 straight games. He’s not the one-man juggernaut he was last season, but he is trending the right way. He has five home runs this month, seven on the season, and is batting .295 in his past 16 games.

Yes, he struck out four times Tuesday, so he’s not all the way back yet, but everything is pointing to him breaking out of his season-opening funk.

If No. 9 hitter Leody Taveras and leadoff man Marcus Semien are getting on base, a hot Seager has a chance to drive in some needed runs for an offense that has scored 23 times in its past 10 games.

That’s not very good. The good news it that the Rangers won’t be facing a left-handed starter the rest of the road trip. Maybe that helps the bats shake loose.

The new guy

Derek Hill had eight home runs and a 1.045 OPS at Triple A Round Rock. He was the Express’ best all-round hitter, though catcher Andrew Knapp wasn’t far behind.

Maybe Knapp is the next to be rewarded, as the Rangers have discussed going with three catchers, but the Hill promotion should give Triple A players hope that if they produce, the big-league club could come calling even if they aren’t on the 40-man roster.

Hill stayed hot in his Rangers debut, going 2 for 3 with a walk and a run scored while playing right field in place of Adolis Garcia (forearm).

While Hill is a right-handed hitter, he actually had better Triple A numbers against righties. All eight of his homers came against them. If the Rangers are going to use the hitters who are producing, Hill shouldn’t just fall into a platoon. He should get a shot against a couple of the upcoming righties.

What’s it going to hurt?

Doggy video!

What’s that you say? Enjoy.

Watch today’s video here.

Jeff Wilson, jeff@rangerstoday.com

Jeff Wilson

Sports reporter for two decades. Sports fan for life. Covers the Texas Rangers. Graduate of TCU. Colorado native. Author of Purple Passion: TCU Football Legends (https://t.co/2fmXLyympx). Follow me on Twitter at @JeffWilsonTXR

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