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06/12/12 8:30 PM ET

Texas still uncertain of Ogando's replacement

Ross to remain in bullpen; Kirkman a candidate to start

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."

Stomach virus no longer in Holland's body

ARLINGTON -- Derek Holland, who was placed on the disabled list last week, was told on Tuesday that the stomach virus that has plagued him for three weeks is no longer in his body. Now it is a matter of Holland regaining his strength and resuming a throwing program.

"Being sick took its toll, but everything is fine now," said Holland, who lost 15 pounds during his infirmity. "I've started regaining some of the weight back. I don't like watching TV when the team is playing. It's shouldn't take very long. I'm doing everything else to get prepared. It should be a matter of time before I'm ready."

Holland, who is 5-4 with a 5.10 ERA in 11 starts and one relief appearance, is eligible to come off the disabled list on June 21. But manager Ron Washington said he expects Holland to make at least one rehab start before rejoining the Rangers.

"No way he's going to just jump back in the rotation," Washington said.

Neftali Feliz, who has been on the disabled list with a sprained right elbow since May 19, is also close to resuming a throwing program. Feliz said he hopes to start throwing on Friday.

"I feel great," Feliz said.

Cruz out of Rangers' lineup with different ailment

ARLINGTON -- Rangers outfielder Nelson Cruz was out of the lineup for a second straight game Tuesday. This time it was a virus and not his sore right Achilles tendon. That injury kept him out of Sunday's game against the Giants.

"He came in today looking really bad," manager Ron Washington said. "The trainers gave him some medicine and sent him home. With everything we've had in the clubhouse lately, we don't need any more."

Craig Gentry was in center field for the Rangers, starting for the second straight game with an opposing right-hander on the mound. Gentry has 11 hits in his last 29 at-bats (.379) against right-handed pitchers.

Worth noting

• Michael Kirkman on the state of his recovery from skin cancer: "Everything is good. I've had three treatments and everything is almost completely disappeared. I have one more treatment, and that was supposed to be Thursday. We're going to see if we can do it up here."

• The Rangers have three more games in a National League city when they play the Padres next week. Alexi Ogando injured his leg running the bases in San Francisco, but manager Ron Washington said the Rangers are not going to change their approach. Said Washington, "When they get the opportunity to swing the bat, they'll swing the bat. If there are guys on the bags with one out or no outs, they're going to bunt."

T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields, and follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.