The Texas Rangers starting pitcher Andrew Cashner has officially been “shut down” due to bicep tendinitis, the team announced on Thursday. While the team has not announced an official timetable for Cashner’s return, they reiterated that shutting the pitcher down does not rule him out to be ready to start the season.
Cashner will need rest, rehab and anti-inflammatories, according to the Fantasy Doctor’s Dr. Selene Parekh. He believes that Cashner should miss three weeks at most, and could be back in as early as one week.
He had signed a one year deal with Texas this past offseason after spending time with the Chicago Cubs, San Diego Padres and Miami Marlins. Cashner was expected to fight for a spot at the back end of the team’s starting rotation, but his fantasy relevance was lukewarm at best to begin with. He is still expected to remain on the roster and join the Rangers during the 2017 season. Being sidelined for several weeks worth of spring training will provide a more extensive showcase for other starting pitchers on the team.
Tyson Ross, who was also signed to a one year deal this past offseason, has an opportunity to make a strong case to be in the team’s rotation. He had a combined 407 strikeouts from 2014-2015. But in 2016, Ross dealt with shoulder issues that held him to only one start. But after offseason surgery to alleviate thoracic outlet syndrome, he looks to return to form in 2017.
If he proves this spring that his shoulder issues are truly in the past, Ross and his high strikeout rate need to be considered at the end of drafts for 12-team fantasy leagues.
AJ Griffin will also get more chances this spring with Cashner temporarily on the shelf. Like Ross, Griffin has also struggled with health issues during his career. He made 23 starts in 2016, striking out 107 batters in 119 innings. If he can stay healthy, he still has enough power in his arm to strike batters out at a semi-high rate, If he makes the rotation can, he will be someone to keep an eye on.
It is uncertain which route the Rangers will go in terms of its pitching rotation after Cole Hamels, Yu Darvish and Martin Perez. Ross and Griffin will get a more extensive look with Cashner out. However, fantasy owners should take a wait-and-see approach to see how quickly Cashner can get back and wait to see how the rotation battle will play out before making any serious moves.