Yang Hyeon-jong likely staying in bullpen
Yang Hyeon-jong of the Texas Rangers looks likely to stay in the bullpen for the time being, despite hopes that the MLB rookie could get another chance to start in the coming weeks.
The Texas Rangers announced Sunday that starter Kohei Arihara will be placed on the 10-day injured list with a finger injury. This created a hole in the lineup which could potentially have opened the door for Yang to again start in Arihara's place.
Yang appeared as a starter for the first time in his MLB career last week, throwing eight strikeouts and giving up one run in three and one third innings.
Yang, who went from taxi squad to reliever to starter in less than two weeks, put on a show against the Minnesota Twins at Target Field in Minneapolis, Minnesota, becoming only the second player in Rangers history to record eight strikeouts in so few innings. Yang allowed four hits and one run for a 2.25 ERA.
Yang's appearance in that game was due to Airhara's injury. The Japanese player returned to the lineup on Saturday and Yang was shifted back to the bullpen, but his move to the 10-day injured list looked like it could again create an opportunity for the Korean southpaw.
But that now seems less unlikely, as the Dallas Morning News reports that Wes Benjamin is likely to get the spot start instead. Benjamin has started once so far this season, taking a loss, and was sent down to the minors after just a few games in the bullpen.
Yang currently has pitched 12 innings in the majors with 13 strikeouts and two walks. If the Rangers choose not to use him as a spot starter, he is likely to continue appearing as a long reliever, likely stepping in when the starter has been roughed up and looking to save as many arms in the bullpen as possible.
BY JIM BULLEY [email@example.com]