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Rangers Set Rotation, Sort Of...

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Rangers Set Rotation, Sort Of...

Getty Images/NBC 5 News

Martin Perez, 2014 Texas Rangers

Derek Holland was the first casualty back in January. Matt Harrison followed earlier this month when he slept on a soft mattress. Colby Lewis, who was a wild card in the first place, is getting up to pace, but he's not quite ready yet after having not pitched in the bigs since July 2012. Oh, and the Rangers' ace, Yu Darvish? He's starting the season on the disabled list, though his neck stiffness doesn't appear to be anything serious.

So, yep. That's what we're left with. The Rangers have just one guy left in their rotation who was expected to be there when the 2013 season ended.

That leaves us with the following rotation that will begin on Monday with Tanner Scheppers' historic Opening Day start against Cliff Lee. Scheppers will be followed by Martin Perez, who is the lone wolf left from the bunch that was expected. Perez will be followed by another bullpen convert in Robbie Ross, who pitched phenomenally this spring in his bid to win a rotation spot. He'll give way to veteran free agent signee Joe Saunders, and then the No. 5 starter will be the most unexpected of all in 23-year-old Nick Martinez, a first-round draft pick in 2011 who's pitched in just five games above the Class-A level.

The interesting thing here is what will happen when guys start coming back, starting with Harrison in mid-April and followed closely by Lewis, assuming there are no further setbacks. In those cases, you'd imagine Martinez will head to Double-A Frisco and Saunders will go be the long man in the bullpen.

The really interesting thing will be to see what happens when Holland returns in June or July. Assuming everyone is healthy still, it'd likely mean either Scheppers or Ross would go back to the bullpen, but at this point, what would really surprise you anymore?

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