While updating the media on his inflamed right elbow Tuesday afternoon, Rangers pitcher Tanner Scheppers dropped a bomb that was equally as interesting.
'Next year I'm going to be a reliever' said Scheppers. 'Not shooting down the fact that I want to be a starter at some point in my career, but in the near future I will be in a relief role.'
Scheppers, who was the Rangers 2014 opening day starter, said that the decision was one everyone agree was the best for the future of the organization.
'I just want to play at this point' said Scheppers. 'And what it all comes down to is they have faith in the fact I've done this before, and I think I do too.'
The bullpen is where Scheppers played a role for the Rangers in the past, and where he had a large amount of success in the 2013 season. That year, Scheppers maintained a 1.88 ERA, and earned six wins, while only losing two games.
However, 2014 has been quite the opposite for the Rangers 2009 first round draft pick. After beginning the year as a starter, Scheppers was forced to the disabled with inflammation in his right elbow. After resting and rehabbing, Scheppers returned for four games in the bullpen before returning to the disabled list. As a starter, Scheppers posted a 9.82 ERA and failed to win a single game.
It's hard to determine if Scheppers was ill-prepared for his role as a starter, or if the injured right elbow was the menace behind it all. The righty however, at least believes that he was part of the curse many pitchers have fallen to in 2014, and that he was fully prepared to start.
'I felt like I did everything I needed to do in order to stay healthy, it's just one of those things' said Scheppers. 'You look around the league it's been happening to everybody. You just have to take it as a learning experience.'
It'll be another eight weeks or so before Scheppers is able to throw a baseball. Right now he is focusing on strengthening his elbow and keeping his body in shape. While it is certain that we won't see anything from Scheppers in a game this season, the hope is for him to be ready to go by the time the offseason hits.
'Hopefully in the next couple weeks I can start a throwing program, throw a couple bullpens before the year is over' said Scheppers. 'Have a normal offseason and then start back up again.'
For the Rangers sake, hopefully Schepper is fully healthy by the time he returns next season, as is able to post numbers similar to those he had in 2013. He may just be one piece of the puzzle, but when you have as many pieces missing as the Rangers do, every piece counts.