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The Texas Rangers are placing one of their top early-season performers to the injured list. Left-hander Cody Bradford, he of the 1.40 ERA in three starts, is going on the 15-day injured list with back soreness, the team announced Sunday. Michael Lorenzen will start in Bradford's place Monday. Righty Cole Winn was called up as an extra bullpen arm in the meantime.

Bradford, 26, has gotten better each time out this season, and has surrendered only four runs (three earned) in 19 1/3 innings. He's issued just two walks and has held hitters to a strong 87.4 mph average exit velocity. Last season, Bradford threw 56 innings with a 5.30 ERA in eight starts and 12 relief appearances. He then allowed one run in 7 2/3 innings in the postseason.

Cody Bradford
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The Rangers signed Lorenzen to a one-year, $4.5 million contract last month and he opened the year on the injured list with a neck strain. Add in Bradford, and Texas now has an entire five-man rotation on the injured list. Here is their rotation depth chart:

  1. RHP Jacob deGrom (Tommy John surgery)
  2. RHP Max Scherzer (back surgery)
  3. RHP Nathan Eovaldi
  4. RHP Tyler Mahle (Tommy John surgery)
  5. RHP Jon Gray
  6. RHP Dane Dunning
  7. LHP Cody Bradford (back soreness)
  8. LHP Andrew Heaney
  9. RHP Michael Lorenzen (neck strain)

Lorenzen, 32, has spent the last few weeks in Triple-A making rehab starts and getting built up for the season. In three Triple-A starts, Lorenzen had allowed eight runs in 11 1/3 innings, and he was able to get his pitch count up to 89 last time out. Winn, 24, moved to the bullpen this year and has a 5.68 ERA in the early goings in Triple-A.

Despite all the rotation injuries, the Rangers are an AL West-leading 8-7 in the early going, and their starting pitchers rank fifth in baseball with a 3.36 ERA. Scherzer could return from his surgery next month. deGrom and Mahle are likely out until after the All-Star break.