Gagne will start season on disabled list

Friday, March 30, 2007

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Eric Gagne will start the season on the disabled list for the Texas Rangers, a move the team is making to give the closer more time to come back from elbow and back operations.

The team said Gagne hasn't had any health setbacks. The 2003 NL Cy Young Award winner has pitched only 15 innings over the past two seasons.

"I feel pretty good, but I think this is going to help the team," Gagne said after throwing 15 pitches in a minor league game Thursday. "We are here to have a successful season and make the playoffs."

This is the third straight season since his dominating run as the Los Angeles Dodgers' closer that Gagne will be on the disabled list before pitching.

He had elbow surgery in June 2005, then another operation last April to remove a nerve from his pitching elbow. He had surgery last July to repair a herniated disk in his lower back.

Akinori Otsuka, who converted 32 of 36 save chances last season, will handle the closing duties until Gagne returns.

The move will be retroactive to Wednesday, meaning Gagne could rejoin the team April 13.

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