ARLINGTON -- The Rangers' bullpen has been a strength all season, but injuries have taken a toll. The latest was when Koji Uehara went down with a strained muscle under his right armpit. He could be sidelined for 2-3 weeks. "I don't think it's that severe," Uehara said. "But the MRI showed a tear -- a minor, minor tear. Until that heals, I don't know." The Rangers are already without Alexi Ogando, who is out for 4-6 weeks with a strained right groin muscle. The bullpen also lost Scott Feldman in mid-May when he had to go into the rotation to replace Neftali Feliz, who is out until mid-July with a sprained right elbow.
The Rangers still have closer Joe Nathan and eighth-inning setup reliever Mike Adams. They have Mark Lowe and Yoshinori Tateyama from the right side behind them, and left-handers Robbie Ross and Michael Kirkman. Rookie right-hander Tanner Scheppers is their middle/long reliever. "It's fine, our bullpen is in good shape," Rangers manager Ron Washington said. "We're going to miss Ogando, we're going to miss Feliz and we miss Feldman. But this gives Robbie Ross, Mark Lowe and all those guys a chance to step up. I believe they will." Rangers relievers went into Thursday's game with a combined ERA of 2.78, the fourth lowest in the American League. Now they will see how they do without both Ogando and Uehara. "We lost two key guys in our bullpen," Adams said. "We're not exactly sure how long we're going to miss them. But I definitely understand that my role is going to get kicked up a little bit. I know I'm going to have to be a little more solid than I've been. But those two guys down just open up opportunities for somebody else, and it gives them an opportunity to step up and fill a role and see how they take it.
"I think we have enough depth that we have guys that can step up in those roles and make a name for themselves."