ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) -Rangers reliever Akinori Otsuka was put on the 15-day disabled list Thursday after an MRI exam determined the right-hander has inflammation in his forearm that is causing pain in his elbow.
``I'm relieved,'' said Otsuka, who hasn't pitched since July 1. ``A ligament is a big problem. This is a muscle and it just needs rest.''
When Otsuka tried to warm up to possibly go in Tuesday night's game at Oakland, he didn't feel right. The Rangers had given him an extended break, including the All-Star break, to try to rest his sore arm. He was examined by team physician Dr. Keith Meister on Thursday.
``The plan is get his treatment and if he feels well, go ahead Monday and play catch,'' general manager Jon Daniels said. ``We'll build up from there, bullpens and ultimately go out on a rehab assignment before he's active up here. We'll take it day by day starting Monday.''
Otsuka is 2-1 with a 2.51 ERA and four saves in 34 appearances this season. He had 32 saves last year but returned to a setup role after the Rangers acquired Eric Gagne during the offseason.
With the Rangers last in the AL West, other teams needing relievers have inquired about Otsuka and Gagne (14 saves, 1.23 ERA in 30 games). But putting Otsuka on the DL lessens the possibility of trading him before the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline.
``The good thing about the position we're in, we're not trying to get rid of anybody,'' Daniels said. ``This is not a fire sale. At the same time, if something makes sense for us, we will make a deal.''
The 35-year-old Otsuka is eligible for salary arbitration after this season, but the Rangers control his contract rights through 2009. He came to Texas in a six-player deal before last season that sent right-hander Chris Young to San Diego.
Gagne signed a one-year deal with Texas last offseason. The right-hander, who has the major league record with 84 consecutive saves, was limited to 15 1-3 innings the last two seasons because of elbow and back operations.
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