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Troubling News from Surprise about Tommy Hunter

By Jason K. Thompson

Amid the Ron Washington mess in Surprise over the last couple days, something has happened that is a lot more troubling to me. Last night Tommy Hunter was scheduled to make a start against Milwaukee, when all-of-a-sudden the game was delayed. Then reliever Guillermo Moscoso took the mound, warmed up, and started the game. Watching on TV, you would've thought Hunter just morphed into Moscoso. He disappeared. They sent their guys down to investigate, and found out that he has a strained intracostal muscle, which runs between the ribs. I don't know about you, but that's scary to me. Last year Jarrod Saltalamacchia had to have a rib removed due to thorasic outlet syndrome. Matt Harrison and Hank Blalock have recently had that done as well. I know that what's troubling Tommy Hunter is not the same thing, but it seems like it could be one of those nagging injuries that keeps a guy off the field for an extended period of time.

Hunter is going to be extremely important to the Rangers this season. We've learned from past experience in sports in this town that depth is only depth if no one gets hurt. If there is an injury or two, you become very thin. The Rangers, in actuality, do not have very many pitchers that you want in a rotation that's supposed to win the division. Rich Harden, Brandon McCarthy and Matt Harrison are fragile, Colby Lewis is a huge question mark in regard to what he can do in the U.S., Derek Holland, Neftali Feliz and C.J. Wilson haven't proven that they can have consistent success in the rotation at the Major League level. I like Scott Feldman, though, and I definitely like Hunter as well.

The Rangers official site now says that Hunter has a strained oblique muscle and will be out one to two weeks. They also say that there likely will not be enough time for Hunter, who has thrown only 5 innings this spring, to get ready before the start of the regular season. Strained oblique muscles are not fun, and they often cause a guy to miss a lot of time. So who knows when Hunter will be ready to go. One thing, though, is for sure: the Rangers need another solid starter, in addition to Feldman, who they know is going to take the mound when it's his turn and be productive.