The Rangers announced today that starter Jon Gray has been placed on the 15-day injured list with a left oblique strain. Kennedi Landry of MLB.com was among the reporters to relay that Gray will be out of action for the next 4-6 weeks.
Signed to a four-year, $56MM contract in the offseason, it’s been a frustrating start to Gray’s tenure in Texas. This is his third trip to the IL this season, having already landed on the shelf due to a blister and then a knee sprain. Now he will be out of action until at least early September in a best-case scenario, but maybe not returning at all if the issue lingers.
When he has able to take the hill, he’s been very effective, though. Through 103 1/3 innings on the year, he has a 3.83 ERA with a 43.4% ground ball rate, 27.1% strikeout rate and 7.9% walk rate. With Gray out of action, the Rangers will be without one of their few effective starters, as he and Martin Perez are the only two guys on the squad to make more than five starts with an ERA under 4.00.
As the club is currently sporting a record of 46-56 and eight games out of a playoff spot, they are unlikely to work their way back into the postseason race down the stretch, especially without Gray. As such, there’s not likely to be any need to rush him back until his health is back to full strength.
In the short-term, the Rangers will need to replace Gray’s spot in the rotation with another starter. As Landry notes, Taylor Hearn was recalled to take his roster spot but will stay in the bullpen. Jeff Wilson of RangersToday.com suggest Cole Ragans as a candidate. The 24-year-old isn’t currently on the 40-man roster but is having a very nice season in the minors. In 18 starts between Double-A and Triple-A, he has a 3.04 ERA with a 29.3% strikeout rate and 8% walk rate.