Per Jeff Wilson, the Rangers will be putting Tommy Hunter, just returning from the disabled list, on the Round Rock bullpen to see if he can be an effective reliever.
It's a rare problem in the Rangers history to have too many solid or better pitchers for an Major League rotation, but that's an issue they're facing right now. Tommy Hunter is good enough to belong on a typical roster, but the only pitcher in 2011 so far who has pitched markedly worse overall than Hunter is likely to has been Colby Lewis. While Lewis has struggled, though, he had an excellent 2010, and has shown flashes of still being able to do that in 2011. Going forward, his upside is likely worth sticking with.â†µ
Derek Holland has not necessarily pitched better than what Hunter can do, but Holland -- who has, at times, good stuff, and was once one of the best pitching prospects in baseball -- likely has more potential to be significantly better than just mediocre than Hunter does. Matt Harrison is a similar story. In the meantime, Hunter is excellent depth, but just does not have a certain spot in the current rotation. The bullpen, however, needs some help, and if Hunter could provide that depth while also filling out some relief innings, it would be a nice win. The minute someone goes down with an injury, or starts to cast serious doubt on pitching better than Hunter going forward, he can move back in.â†µ
Wilson also pointed out:â†µ
Washington cautioned to not make too much of the move, but the Rangers have always tried to put together the best 12 pitchers on their roster -- even if that means moving a starter to the bullpen.â†µ