Texas Rangers

At What Point Do We Question How the Texas Rangers Handle Their Pitchers?

Stop me if you've heard this one before: Your Texas Rangers have pitching problems.

If you're scoring at home, that's two similar season-ending surgeries in one week. After top prospect and rotation candidate Eric Hurley underwent rotator cuff surgery last week, semi-reliable set-up man Joaquin Benoit had the same procedure Tuesday.

The Rangers' pitching - like it's been since, oh, 1972 - was already a question entering 2009. But that's two quality, counted-on arms off the staff and it's still two weeks until pitchers and catchers report to Spring Training in Surprise, Arizona.

Which begs the question: What the hell is going on in Arlington?

The Rangers may have baseball's No. 1 farm system and a really cool annual January Fan Fest event, but they also have the world's worst history of coaxing health - much less results - out of their top pitchers at the Major League level.

With Nolan Ryan and new pitching coach Mike Maddux on board, it seems safe to assume that Rangers' pitchers are in good hands. But, seriously, neither Hurley nor Brandon McCarthy had as much as a tired arm in the minors and now they can't stay on the mound in Arlington.

Maybe it's time to bring back Tom House and his unorthodox tranining methods that included playing catch with a football before games to loosen up. If nothing else, it's time to examine what exactly the Rangers are doing to their pitchers' arms.

At the very least, why are these pitchers having surgery two weeks before Spring Training instead of in the Fall?

The good news: Considering Ben Sheets' history of arm ailments, doesn't the coveted free agent's arrival in Arlington seem like a natural fit?