Almost immediately after announcing that Neftali Feliz would return to the closer role for another year, the Rangers lost Tommy Hunter to a groin strain that could could put him on the disabled list to begin the regular season. Hunter left Thursday’s start in the third inning and told reporters that his groin “doesn’t feel very pleasant.”
With Matt Harrison and Derek Holland already in the rotation and Feliz headed back to the bullpen, the candidate list for Hunter’s potential replacement is pretty short. Michael Kirkman was optioned early in the day, but he could be the most likely replacement. Veterans Brett Tomko and Dave Bush are also possibilities. Brandon Webb had to cancel a throwing session on Wednesday and will not be ready to start the season in the major leagues.