ARLINGTON -- The Rangers are undecided on a starter for Saturday to replace Alexi Ogando. Rangers manager Ron Washington does not want it to be left-handed reliever Robbie Ross. "Without Ogando down there, he's our magical piece," Washington said on Tuesday. The Rangers placed Ogando on the disabled list Tuesday with a strained right groin muscle and called up left-hander Michael Kirkman from Triple-A Round Rock. Kirkman is a candidate to start and has pitched well lately, but right now is in the bullpen.
Kirkman, who continues to undergo treatment for skin cancer, was 5-1 with a 5.25 ERA in 15 games at Round Rock. He is 4-0 with a 3.38 ERA in his last five starts and two relief appearances since May 6, while opponents are hitting .191 against him. He walked 19 and struck out 33 in 32 innings during that stretch. But the walk totals remain a concern. "He's started to throw better," Washington said. "Hopefully he can get some outs when he gets a chance to pitch. Now that he's got a change of scenery, maybe he can pound the strike zone. That's my attitude." So the Rangers are undecided as to who will pitch against the Astros on Saturday. Tanner Scheppers has started in the past, but has been used exclusively in relief so far this season. The Rangers could call up left-hander Martin Perez from Round Rock or either right-handers Justin Grimm or Barret Loux from Double-A Frisco. Round Rock right-hander Greg Reynolds (4-5, 4.76 ERA) and left-hander Zach Jackson (2-7, 5.08) have Major League experience, but they have been inconsistent to this point of the season. "We've looked at our options, but haven't made a decision on anything," Washington said. Ogando is the third pitcher the Rangers have put on the disabled list the past month, following Neftali Feliz and Derek Holland. Ogando is expected to be out 4-6 weeks with a strained right groin. "I feel bad today because I had the [blood platelet] injection, but most importantly I'm sad because it's a long time to be injured and the team needs pitching," Ogando said. "But I can not look back. I can only look ahead and work as hard as they permit me and try to get back."