Notes: Rangers place Otsuka on DL
Reliever experiencing tendinitis in right forearm/elbow area
ARLINGTON -- Reliever Akinori Otsuka's chances of being involved in a trade before the July 31 trade deadline dimmed considerably on Thursday when the Rangers put him on the 15-day disabled list because of tendinitis in the forearm/elbow area of his right arm.The Rangers had been getting considerable trade interest in Otsuka, but it's still uncertain if he'll be ready to pitch by the trade deadline. Even if he is, clubs may be reluctant to offer what the Rangers want in return for a pitcher who has not appeared in a game since July 1. "Anytime when you're talking about players in general, teams want to see guys healthy," Rangers general manager Jon Daniels said. "We feel pretty confident this is just inflammation and not a long-term deal. But we're going to be upfront with any clubs we're talking with about with any of our players. And we would expect the reverse." Otsuka was examined by Dr. Keith Meister on Thursday and underwent an MRI that showed no serious problems like a torn ligament. The MRI did show some inflammation that has been causing the problem in a muscle right where the forearm connects with the elbow. "I'm relieved," Otsuka said. "A ligament is a big problem, but this is the muscle. It just needs rest." Otsuka will not pick up a baseball until Monday. At that point, he'll start playing catch again and work up to a bullpen session. The Rangers also want him to pitch at least one or two games on medical rehabilitation assignment before he's activated again. "By that time, we'll be looking at 20 days or so," Daniels said. "We want to put him in an environment where he can test it and let it go." Scott Feldman was called up from Triple-A Oklahoma to replace Otsuka. This will be his fifth time with the Rangers this season. He is 1-2 with a 6.67 ERA in 21 games with Texas and is 1-1 with a 6.33 ERA for Oklahoma. Young missing two games: Shortstop Michael Young will be away from the team for two games because of the death of his wife Cristina's grandmother. He is expected back on Saturday. The Rangers could have put him on bereavement leave and replaced him with another player, but that requires a player to miss at least three games, and Young is going to miss just two. Ramon Vazquez is starting at shortstop in Young's place. "When I make the lineup up, it's tough without Michael," Rangers manager Ron Washington said. "But I've always said that when we lose somebody, some has to step up and pick us up until he gets back." Padilla watch: Vicente Padilla's return continues to be delayed. He has still not thrown off a mound since a medical rehab start for Double-A Frisco on July 12. Padilla, on the disabled list with inflammation in his right elbow, threw on flat ground on Thursday without problems, and now the constantly changing plan is for him to throw off a mound on Saturday. If that goes well, he could make another rehab start on Tuesday. But that plan is tentative based on how he feels on Saturday. Blalock slower than expected: Third baseman Hank Blalock is not going to be able to make his goal of returning from shoulder surgery by Aug. 1. Blalock could only throw halfway to first base comfortably during fielding drills on Thursday and is going to need much more time to build up arm strength. "There's no way I'll be back by then," Blalock said. "I tried to push as far as I can and throw comfortably during defensive drills, and I threw it half way to first base. ... I need to get [100 percent] to get a strong grip on the ball, too." Blalock has been hitting for three weeks, but his defense has been the holdup. Blalock went on the disabled list May 17 with Thoracic outlet syndrome, which required surgery in the back of his right shoulder. He said it: "Barry Bonds is one of the most awesome players to ever play the game. Of course the moment should be [celebrated] if he hits 755 or 756 home runs. You could take batting practice for two years and not hit that many." -- Washington, on Bonds Wednesday's Minor League stars:
Gold: Triple-A Oklahoma left-hander John Rheinecker went eight innings, allowing one run on six walks as the RedHawks defeated Memphis, 5-2. Rheinecker improved to 4-2 with a 3.57 ERA. Rheinecker and Mike Wood are candidates to pitch Game 1 of a doubleheader against the Seattle Mariners on Tuesday.Silver: Double-A Frisco right-hander Luis Mendoza allowed one run over six innings as the RoughRiders fell to San Antonio, 4-1. Mendoza had six strikeouts and two walks. Bronze: Outfielder Nelson Cruz went 3-for-5 with a home run in the RedHawks win. He improved his average to .348 through 37 games. Briefly: Righty Ezequiel Astacio has been activated off the disabled list at Oklahoma. ... The Rangers expect Oklahoma outfielder Jason Botts to miss a week or so with a hairline fracture in the tip of his right index finger. Said Daniels, "From listening to everybody, it looks worse than it really is. Hopefully, it will be a week or so, and then it's just a matter of pain tolerance." ... Chris Davis' 35-game hitting streak for Class A Bakersfield came to an end Wednesday when he went 0-for-4 with a walk. Davis' streak started June 7 and the 21-year-old third baseman batted .390 with 11 home runs and 50 RBIs in those 35 games. Up next: Texas hosts Cleveland in the second game of the four-game series Friday at 7:35 p.m. CT at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington. Right-hander Brandon McCarthy pitches for the Rangers against right-hander Fausto Carmona.
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. Drew Davison contributed to this report. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.