Notes: Dickey out, Bauer called up
Knuckleballer sent to Triple-A after disappointing '06 debut
ARLINGTON -- After tying a Major League record Thursday night by allowing six home runs, Rangers right-hander R.A. Dickey learned he'll be refining his knuckleball back at Triple-A Oklahoma.
Dickey, who won a spot in the Rangers' rotation during the final week of Spring Training, was optioned back to the RedHawks on Friday. The move came hours after a disappointing season debut against Detroit, when Dickey gave up six homers in just 3 1/3 innings of a 10-6 loss. Dickey, who left the game on the wrong end of an 8-0 score, became only the seventh big-league pitcher since 1900 to give up six home runs in a single outing.
"It stinks, because you don't want this outing to define your career as a knuckleballer," Dickey said Friday. "But, until you get back to the Major League level, that's how it will stand. But, with great adversity comes great opportunity."
The Rangers apparently were anticipating trouble. They replaced Dickey with right-hander Rick Bauer, whose contract was purchased from Oklahoma. Bauer said he had been scheduled to start Thursday's game for the RedHawks, but was told earlier in the week that he might not pitch until the weekend.
"It was kind of a shock to get the call so quick, but I'm excited," said Bauer, who was a non-roster invitee to this spring's camp. "I can do anything they want. I could easily start or relieve."
Bauer, 29, compiled an 8-13 record and 4.58 ERA in 125 career appearances for the Baltimore Orioles. Used mostly in long relief, Bauer was 1-6 with a 4.41 ERA in nine career starts.
Rangers manager Buck Showalter said the club is not giving up on Dickey, who only began throwing the knuckleball last July at Oklahoma, and who worked this winter on the pitch with former Rangers star Charlie Hough. The fact that Dickey couldn't get out of the fourth inning on Thursday, forcing rookie long reliever Fabio Castro to pitch 3 2/3 innings, left the bullpen in need of a fresh arm with rookie John Koronka starting Friday.
"We were in a position where we needed a pitcher [Friday] who was capable of elongated innings," Showalter said.
Dickey, though disappointed, accepted Showalter's rationale.
"I forced his hand," Dickey said. "It's on me. If I had pitched five good innings last night, we probably wouldn't be having this conversation today."
It wasn't lost on Dickey that Boston knuckleballer Tim Wakefield was knocked around himself this week at Ameriquest Field, giving up seven earned runs on 3 2/3 innings of a 10-4 loss to the Rangers on Tuesday.
"To watch Wakefield, it doesn't really make you feel better, but it shows what can happen sometimes with that pitch," Dickey said. "But he has what I don't -- a track record."
Durazo returns to fold: Spring Training roster casualty Erubiel Durazo, who was unable to hook on with other teams in the Majors or get a desirable offer from Japan after being released by Texas on March 27, returned to the organization Friday with a new Minor League contract.
Durazo, who hit .217 with one RBI in nine spring games, is expected to be assigned to Oklahoma this weekend. Durazo also played this spring for his native Mexico in the World Baseball Classic, hitting .182 with one RBI in six games.
Rotation already in flux: Five games into the season, the Rangers already are unsure who will start their next five games.
Dickey's removal from the roster leaves an open slot for next Tuesday's game in Anaheim. Among the options being considered, Showalter said, are Minor Leaguers Robinson Tejeda, Edinson Volquez and John Rheinecker.
Dickey also could re-emerge as a consideration. Should utilityman Mark DeRosa (high left ankle sprain) be placed on the disabled list over the weekend, the Rangers would be allowed to recall Dickey without his having spent 10 days in the Minors. Dickey is currently scheduled to start Monday on three days' rest, while Tejeda is slotted to start Tuesday for the RedHawks.
Briefly: Oklahoma right-hander Jose Silva began serving a 15-game Minor League suspension Thursday, apparently for testing positive for a banned substance. Showalter said the penalty was levied because of "a transgression of two or three years ago." ... DeRosa, who rolled his left ankle chasing a foul ball on Thursday, said he hoped to be available in a day or two and did not anticipate requiring placement on the disabled list. ... After the conclusion of this weekend's four-game series, the Rangers and Tigers won't tangle again until a four-game series at Comerica Park from Aug. 17-20. The Rangers haven't won a home series against the Tigers since 2003.
Coming up next: Kevin Millwood faces Tigers right-hander Justin Verlander at 7:05 p.m. CT Saturday at Ameriquest Field in Arlington. Verlander (0-2, 7.15 ERA in two 2005 starts), was the second overall pick of the 2004 draft and has never faced the Rangers.
Ken Daley is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.