05/15/2002 00:59 am ET
Hobbled Rangers fall in Chicago
Palmeiro, Catalanotto unavailable; Haselman hurt
By Carrie Muskat / MLB.com
CHICAGO -- That was a black cat that ran in front of the Texas Rangers dugout Tuesday night.
Actually, it jumped off the Chicago White Sox dugout, ran in front of the Rangers and then darted into center field before a security guard grabbed it by the back of the neck and escorted it off the field.
Bad luck? How much more can the Rangers take?
On Tuesday, Texas started its 12-game, 13-day road trip, the longest trip of the season, with 23 players. They were down to 22 when catcher Bill Haselman had to leave the game with a stiff right elbow after he was hit by a Mark Buehrle pitch in the sixth inning.
"It's unbelievable," Texas third baseman Herbert Perry said. "Last year, I thought it was bad here (with the Chicago White Sox). We lost Frank (Thomas), but not Magglio (Ordonez), P.K. (Paul Konerko), Jose (Valentin), myself, everybody.
"Right now, I'm batting fourth," Perry said. "I'm supposed to be batting seventh or eighth."
Perry was hitting cleanup by default. Rafael Palmeiro was in uniform but unavailable because of a strained right calf. Juan Gonzalez went 1-for-6 for the Rangers' extended Spring Training team. Frank Catalanotto? He was in uniform but sidelined with a strained groin.
The end result was a 15-4 loss to the Chicago White Sox Tuesday night. Chicago utility player Tony Graffanino, starting in place of slumping second baseman Ray Durham, led the charge, hitting two home runs and driving in a career high six RBIs.
It was the most runs against the Rangers this year and the fifth time a player has hit two home runs in a game against them.
"This team has got an unbelievable arsenal of hitters," Perry said of the Rangers, "but you can't tell right now because everybody's hurt."
Rangers starter Doug Davis (3-4) gave up six runs - five earned - on eight hits and four walks over 5 2/3 innings against the White Sox. The left-hander struck out 17 and walked four over his first four starts; he now has struck out eight and walked 11 in his last four games.
He also has a minor twinge, a sore back that forced him to be pushed back one day before his May 3 start in Cleveland. Rangers manager Jerry Narron said Davis hasn't pitched as well since that start.
"When I figure (the problem) out, I'll let you know," Davis said. "I haven't been in sync since that one day off. That's no excuse for not going out there and throwing strikes. I gave it my best and things didn't work out. I fell behind hitters and you can't do that with this lineup."
"He just doesn't have the command of his pitches that he'd like to have," Narron said.
The Rangers may be without a catcher if Haselman can't go Wednesday. X-rays taken Tuesday night at Comiskey Park were negative and he planned to spend the evening with a large ice bag on his right elbow.
"It's stiff as can be," said Haselman, who, remember, is filling in for injured Ivan Rodriguez.
Perry tried to downplay his turn as the cleanup hitter.
"It's just a spot in the order," he said before the game. "You just see it, hit it anyway."
That's what he did to a 0-1 pitch from Chicago starter Mark Buehrle (7-2) with two out and one on in the first inning. Perry connected on his third home run to give Texas a 2-0 lead.
Perry now has started five of the last six games and hit safely in his last six. He was tabbed as the regular third baseman in place of young sensation Hank Blalock who was demoted to Triple-A Oklahoma Sunday after batting a disappointing .200 in 32 games.
His main job now may be simply to stay healthy.
The Rangers medical updates are encouraging. Gonzalez could be back Friday, maybe sooner. Palmeiro, who had a MRI Monday, is doing everything he can to avoid the disabled list.
"No DL. I'll play with whatever I have to play with," he said. "(The DL) is not an option."
Catalanotto, bothered by tightness in his right groin, expected to be able to play Thursday or Friday. However, he's also being cautious. Catalanotto had a similar injury last year but on the left side of his groin.
"We've battled through (injuries) and played well," Perry said. "Tonight just got out of hand. That wasn't real nice out there.
"We've got a team that can win games," he said. "We have to keep battling. Everybody will eventually be back."
Carrie Muskat is a writer for MLB.com. This story was not subject to approval by Major League Baseball or its clubs.