As we enter the third week of spring training, Kyle Lohse remains unsigned, a combination of salary demands and draft pick compensation scaring off many would-be suitors. Now, there may be an spot for Lohse to land.
Texas Rangers prospect Martin Perez was hit by a line drive while pitching Sunday, fracturing his forearm. Like the Yankees' Curtis Granderson, who broke his forearm when he was hit with a pitch, Perez is expected to miss at least the first month of the regular season.
Perez was expected to fill the 5th spot in the Rangers' rotation, a group that's already been hit hard with injuries over the past year. Colby Lewis tore his flexor tendon last July, and Neftali Feliz went under the knife for Tommy John surgery soon after. Lewis is expected back by early June; Feliz probably won't be back until late in the season. With Perez out, the Rangers will now likely turn to Robbie Ross, Justin Grimm, or the likes of Kyle McClellan and Randy Wells to fill that 5th spot in the rotation.
Predictably, the injury touched off a ton of Lohse speculation Sunday afternoon. If the Rangers weren't willing to lose a first round pick (and the money associated with that pick from their draft pool) before the injury, however, then it seems unlikely they'd suddenly be likely to do so to fill a month's worth of starts from a #5 starter that could be skipped whenever possible. With Lewis coming back in May, it was also entirely possible that Perez would be booted from the rotation after that first month, anyway.
With the Angels' star power and the A's coming off a playoff appearance, though, the Rangers could still feel the pressure to sign Lohse -- especially if whoever they peg as an internal option to replace Perez falters in his first spring start or two. Texas remains one of the more likely landing spots for Lohse, but Jon Daniels is too smart to make a panic signing following a spring injury. If a Lohse signing does eventually happen, it won't be because Perez got hurt.