Notes: Rangers, Angels renew rivalry
Two hit batters, pair of ejections in Sunday afternoon's game
ARLINGTON -- The Rangers and Angels engaged in a nasty little beanball war last August that wound up helping no one but the eventual division-winning Athletics.After the teams were done taking potshots at each other, Major League Baseball handed down suspensions to both the Rangers (Scott Feldman, six games; Vicente Padilla, five games; manager Buck Showalter, four games) and Angels (Adam Kennedy, Brendan Donnelly and Kevin Gregg, four games each; manager Mike Scioscia, three games; coach Ron Roenicke, one game). Of those principals, only Padilla, Scioscia and Roenicke still were with their teams Sunday when hostilities briefly resumed at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington. Former Ranger Gary Matthews Jr., now the Angels' center fielder, became the flashpoint after perhaps looking a bit too comfortable in the batter's box. The switch-hitting Matthews homered from both sides of the plate for the second time in his career, hitting a two-out, two-run shot in the first off Rangers right-hander Mike Wood and a two-run blast in the fifth off left-hander C.J. Wilson. When Matthews came up in the seventh with no outs, a runner at second and first base open, Rangers right-hander Joaquin Benoit set up a potential double play by drilling Matthews on the posterior with a first-pitch fastball. Matthews was not pleased, and he exchanged words with his former teammate before slowly moving to first base as umpires and catcher Gerald Laird interceded. "I tried to come in, but I guess I just got the wrong grip," Benoit claimed after the game. "I'm not trying to hit anybody, but I'm going to pitch in. When the time comes, I'm going to let them know that I'm here." The Angels wound up loading the bases with no outs, but Benoit managed to keep the game tied at 6-6 by getting pop ups from Erick Aybar and Shea Hillenbrand and an inning-ending grounder from Mike Napoli. Ian Kinsler led off the bottom of the inning. Angels reliever Hector Carrasco's first pitch was a slow curveball that hit the ducking second baseman on the helmet. Plate umpire Alfonso Marquez immediately ejected Carrasco, then he tossed the Angels manager as well when Scioscia's ensuing argument became too heated. "It was a curveball. It slipped out of his hand, and he hit a guy," Scioscia said. "A ball slips out of his hand and hits a guy at 70-something miles an hour, and [Marquez] finds intent. It's ridiculous. How does he not find intent on Benoit after a guy hits two home runs and he hits him in the back with a fastball? Ridiculous." Kinsler said he was unhurt because the ball only glanced off his helmet. But he said he was surprised and wasn't expecting retaliation for Matthews' getting hit. "No, I was just going up there for an at-bat," Kinsler said. "Next thing I know, the ball is flying at me. I was pretty confused by the whole situation." The teams meet again Monday afternoon at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington for the conclusion of their four-game series. Teixeira sets team mark: Rangers first baseman Mark Teixeira played his 483rd straight game Sunday, establishing a new team record. Teixeira's streak is the second-longest active mark in the Majors behind Baltimore's Miguel Tejada (1,118). The five longest consecutive-games streaks in Rangers history are: 483 -- Mark Teixeira -- May 21, 2004-present
482 -- Alex Rodriguez -- July 25, 2000-Sept. 23, 2003
325 -- Ruben Sierra -- May 10, 1988-May 13, 1990
287 -- Michael Young -- June 24, 2005-May 9, 2007
264 -- Al Oliver -- April 10, 1980-Sept. 29, 1981 Millwood, Catalanotto nearly back: Right-hander Mike Wood started against the Angels on Sunday, but he is expected to be sent back to Triple-A Oklahoma after the game. That would clear a roster spot for right-hander Kevin Millwood to be activated for his scheduled start Monday against the Angels. Outfielder-DH Catalanotto will be activated Tuesday, which likely means the demotion of Cruz or fellow outfielder Victor Diaz. Catalanotto went 0-for-4 in his Saturday rehab appearance at Double-A Frisco, and he said he still is feeling pain in the front of his shoulder capsule. Still unable to throw, he will be available only for DH and pinch-hitting duties while continuing therapy. "It doesn't matter," Washington said. "I want Cat's bat back. He can do some damage, even pinch-hitting." Catalanotto said the rust was apparent in his Minor League game. "It went well, but I felt like a fish out of water," he said. "The first guy I faced was throwing 88 [mph], but to me it looked like 110 [mph]. But, with each at-bat, I felt a little more comfortable." No rules, but one: Third baseman Hank Blalock's brother Jake is an outfielder at Frisco. Hank claimed his younger brother had called late Saturday night, distraught that he had to eat peanut butter-and-jelly sandwiches because Catalanotto had neglected the tradition of a visiting big-leaguer provide an upgraded postgame spread for his team. "Not true," Catalanotto insisted. "I bought those guys Outback." Saturday's Minors stars: The top three performances from the Rangers' Minor League teams on Saturday were: Gold: Outfielder Marlon Byrd was 3-for-5 with a grand slam in Triple-A Oklahoma's 7-2 victory over Tucson. Byrd is 15-for-30 with 11 RBIs in his last six games, and he is batting .367 for the season. Silver: Second baseman Jose Vallejo went 4-for-5 with a triple and four RBIs in Class A Clinton's 12-6 win over Cedar Rapids. Vallejo is hitting .293 with 18 RBIs through 34 games. Bronze: Double-A Frisco shortstop Casey Benjamin was 2-for-4 with three RBIs in a 5-4, 10-inning victory over Corpus Christi. Benjamin's three-run homer with two outs in the ninth inning tied the game and forced extra innings. He said it: "I'm going to take care of Sammy. I'm not going to overexpose him in the outfield. I'm not going to run him out there four or five days in a row, but I will one or two." -- Washington, on Sosa in the field once Catalanotto returns Briefly: The start time of the Rangers' May 26 game with the Red Sox has been changed from 2:55 p.m. to 7:05 p.m. CT. The game originally was slated for a national telecast, but Fox Sports has decided not to carry it as part of its Saturday programming package. ... The Rangers went into Sunday afternoon's game with a 5-7 record in day games this season. Texas, which was 16-22 in day games last season, will play its fourth day game in a five-game stretch on Monday. Up next: Right-hander Millwood (2-3, 5.88 ERA) will oppose Angels righty Jered Weaver (1-3, 4.26 ERA) in the afternoon finale of this four-game series at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington on Monday. First pitch is scheduled for 1:05 p.m. CT.
Ken Daley is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.