Rangers pitcher Derek Holland left Friday’s start against the Astros after pitching just one inning due to a left shoulder injury. Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports that Holland will be shut down for four to six weeks with a sub-scapula sprain of his left shoulder. That likely means he’ll be out at least a couple of months.
Anthony Bass relieved Holland in the game and pitched five strong innings, allowing only one run. Bass is a candidate to take Holland’s vacated spot in the starting rotation. Nick Tepesch is another candidate. The Rangers could also seek pitching help from outside the organization.
As for Holland, it’s another stroke of bad luck as he missed most of the 2014 season after undergoing microfracture knee surgery in January following a fall at home.
The Rangers announced this evening that they have signed right-handers Anthony Bass and Ross Wolf and outfielder Antoan Richardson to minor league contracts. All three have received invites to major league spring training.
Bass opted for free agency after being outrighted off the Astros’ 40-man roster late last month. The 27-year-old owns a 4.37 ERA over 18 starts and 78 relief appearances in the majors. He had an ugly 6.33 ERA and 7/7 K/BB ratio over 27 innings with Houston this past season.
Wolf spent this past season with the SK Wyverns in the Korean Baseball Organization. The 32-year-old pitched for the Rangers back in 2013 and posted a 4.15 ERA and 21/15 K/BB ratio over 47 2/3 innings.
Richardson spent 2014 in the Yankees organization, mostly at Triple-A. The 31-year-old appeared in 13 games as a September call-up and actually scored the winning run on Derek Jeter’s walk-off hit in his final home game.
The closer-by-committee is no more. Via MLB.com’s Brian McTaggart, Astros manager Bo Porter says that Chad Qualls will be the team’s closer going forward.
“We have a lead in the ninth, Chad Qualls will get the ball,” Porter said. “He’s really been good of late and it actually looks like his [velocity] is back, his heavy sinker has been working — it’s ground ball after ground ball. If we have a lead and he’s available, he’ll get the ball.”
Qualls, Anthony Bass, Josh Fields, and Raul Valdes have all recorded at least one save for the Astros since the season started. The 35-year-old Qualls, however, has had the most success among them, posting a 3.55 ERA with a 15/3 K/BB ratio in 12 2/3 innings.
The Astros’ relief problems extend beyond just their closing situation, however. The bullpen’s aggregate 5.73 ERA is by far the worst in baseball, well ahead of the Blue Jays at 5.29.