Notes: Showalter shuffles lineup
Teixeira to DH while bruised finger heals
ANAHEIM -- Manager Buck Showalter switched up his struggling lineup for Tuesday's game with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.Kevin Mench, dealing with a sore right foot, was on the bench, while Adrian Brown started for him in right field. Mench, who has been bothered by the foot since the beginning of the season, may not play again until Friday at the earliest. "Kevin needs a day with his foot," Showalter said. "It's gotten pretty sore, so we're going to give him a day, possibly three." Mench, the Rangers' best hitter in Spring Training, is hitting .258 without a home run, RBI or walk thus far this season. Brad Wilkerson is also struggling, taking a .167 batting average into Tuesday's game and leading the Majors in strikeouts with 16. So Showalter dropped Wilkerson to the No. 7 spot and put Brown in the leadoff spot. Showalter said he's hoping that will take some pressure off Wilkerson. "I talked to him at the end of Spring Training and again today," Showalter said. "Brad is a baseball player, he told me, 'Whatever you think, let's go.' He's frustrated a little bit. I anticipate him getting back to form." The other change was dropping Laynce Nix, hitless in 18 at-bats, to the No. 9 spot and moving rookie Ian Kinsler up to No. 6. Kinsler went into the game hitting .450 and with a .560 on-base percentage, aided by four walks. Somebody has to lead off though, and Brown is likely to be a temporary solution. Gary Matthews Jr. could be an option when he comes off the disabled list Wednesday. But the first option still seems to eventually return Wilkerson to that spot. "It fits a lot better for us if he can do it," Showalter said. "He's done it before." Teixeira deals with bruised finger: First baseman Mark Teixeira celebrated his 26th birthday on Tuesday by being limited to designated hitter duty, the result of Garret Anderson's line drive in Monday's game. The line drive deflected off Teixeira's glove at first base and into the first base stands for a ground-rule double. "That's the hardest ball ever hit to me down at first base," Teixeira said. Teixeira suffered a bruised ring finger on his right hand but X-rays showed no fractures or broken bones. He said it doesn't bother him hitting, but the concern was the pounding at first base. He might be limited to DH for a couple of days. "When the swelling goes down and the pain goes down, we'll see how it goes," Teixeira said. Changeup works for Loe: Kameron Loe found at least one positive during a 5-2 loss to the Angels on Monday. The changeup that he worked on in Spring Training showed it could be an effective pitch. He threw three of them and got two ground-ball outs from it. "I probably could have used it more, but it's a work in progress and I don't want to get beat with my fourth-best pitch," Loe said. "But it looks like it's coming on, and I can use it more as the season goes along." Loe gave up five runs in five innings and is 0-2 with a 5.40 ERA in 2006. But he is hardly discouraged. "I made some good pitches," Loe said. "I struck out [Vladimir Guerrero] twice, and the one hit he got was on a pitch five inches outside and off his ankles. It was just a series of unfortunate events. I think I'm right where I need to be. I feel good and I'm hitting my spots. I think things will turn around fast." Young's hits shows RISP value: The Rangers entered Tuesday's game against the Angels batting .242 with runners in scoring position, fourth lowest in the American League. That doesn't mean a couple of them don't know how to handle those situations. Since the start of the 2004 season, Michael Young is hitting .356 with runners in scoring position, the second-highest mark among all Major League players in that period. Barry Bonds is hitting .357. Teixeira is seventh, batting .344 with runners in scoring position. "Hitting is such a subjective thing," Young said. "You have to find out what works for you. Those are big situations. You're not always going to come through but mentally you have to lock it in." Young, since the start of the 2004 season, is also hitting .412 with runners in scoring position and two outs, the highest such average in the Major Leagues.
"If the guy ahead of me is hitting with two outs, I'm really hoping he finds a way to get on base because I want to hit in those situations," Young said. "I approach it the same way, maybe mentally lock it in a notch higher, but those are the at-bats I really want to cash in on."Briefly: Kevin Millwood, winless in two starts, worked with pitching coach Mark Connor on a couple of things in the bullpen Tuesday afternoon. Said Connor, "We're trying to get him more downhill and finish off some pitches. We've looked at a lot of film trying to see if he's doing anything different from last year, and saw one or two things. One thing is he basically slide-stepped from the stretch all year. Now he's getting more hip turn. I said, 'Go back to what you were doing all along." ... Robinson Tejeda made his second start for Triple-A Oklahoma on Tuesday and allowed five runs on eight hits in five innings. He is expected to make at least one more start for the RedHawks before the Rangers even consider bringing him up to the big leagues. Coming up: Left-hander John Koronka makes his second start for the Rangers against Angels right-hander Kelvim Escobar in the final game of a three-game series on Wednesday at 9:05 p.m. CT. Escobar had a split nail on his right middle finger in his last start but said he is ready to pitch.
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.