Washington shoulders blame for ninth inning
Bullpen troubles Tuesday led to Rangers' loss to A's
ARLINGTON -- Rangers manager Ron Washington made one thing clear about the way the bullpen was used in the ninth inning on Tuesday night.
"It's not on [pitching coach] Mike Maddux," Washington said. "It's on me. I'm the manager. I messed up."
Washington explained what happened during the ninth inning in a game that the Rangers lost, 7-6, to the A's in 13 innings. When left-handed reliever Darren Oliver retired the side in the top of the eighth, the Rangers trailed, 3-2.
As Oliver came off the mound, Washington told Maddux that he wanted Oliver to face Eric Chavez leading off the ninth inning. When Josh Hamilton hit a two-run home run to put the Rangers ahead in the bottom of the eighth, Washington said he still wanted Oliver to face Chavez in the ninth, but forgot to tell Maddux to have closer Neftali Feliz ready after that.
"I forgot to tell him to get Feliz up," Washington said.
Maddux did not suggest it either. Chavez reached on an error. That brought up Adam Rosales, a right-handed hitter. Feliz was not ready. Rosales singled off Oliver, Feliz then came in and the Athletics ended up scoring two runs to take the lead."The simplest thing to do is say I want Oliver on Chavez and Feliz backing him up," Washington said. "I didn't do that. Usually we do that; I didn't do that."
Harrison willing to transfer to bullpen
ARLINGTON -- Left-hander Matt Harrison, who officially went on the disabled list with biceps tendinitis on Wednesday, said he is willing to go to the bullpen if that's what the Rangers need.Harrison has been replaced by Derek Holland in the starting rotation and that could end up being a permanent situation. The alternative for Harrison would be to go to the bullpen when he comes off the DL. "I'd be open to it," Harrison said. "I don't know what the plan is, but if I have to go to the bullpen, if that's what they want me to do and it's best for the team, I'd be open to it. "It's tough because these guys have been pitching well [in Triple A] below me. Holland is pitching well. He's going to do everything he can to keep that spot. All I can do is come back 100 percent and see how things turn out." Hamilton was diagnosed with biceps tendinitis in his left arm after a five-inning start against the Royals on Thursday, but he said the arm was bothering him for a few weeks prior to that. He didn't say anything, possibly because he was worried about Holland coming up and replacing him. "I guess you could say that," Harrison said. "But I just wanted to be out there pitching and competing. But it got to the point where I was hurting myself and the team."
Garko makes first start of homestand
ARLINGTON -- Ryan Garko was back in the lineup on Wednesday, his first start on the homestand. It's also the first time the Rangers faced a left-hander back in Arlington, so Garko was slotted as the designated hitter and Vladimir Guerrero played right field.Garko went into Wednesday's game hitting .071 with two hits in 28 at-bats -- the second lowest mark in the Majors for a player with at least 25 at-bats. "I feel my most important at-bat is my next at-bat," Garko said. "I just want to go out there and have three or four good at-bats instead of putting pressure on every at-bat. That leads to over-swinging and bad swings." Garko had been a regular first baseman for the Indians in the past, and his 162-game average over a six-year career is a .275 batting average, 67 runs scored, 19 home runs, 88 RBIs, a .347 on-base percentage and a .434 slugging percentage. "I know I'm better than what I've shown," Garko said. "You can't get too high or too low. You just have to stay confident and work hard. There is a track record, you just have to trust in that. It's there and it's been there in the past." The Rangers have a roster move to make on Friday when Nelson Cruz comes off the disabled list. But club officials said it's unlikely that a move will be made for Garko at that point. The Rangers have Joaquin Arias playing first base at Triple A Oklahoma City as a possible option.
Cruz on pace to be activated Friday
ARLINGTON -- Nelson Cruz, on medical rehabilitation assignment, was 2-for-4 on Wednesday afternoon and drove in the only run in Triple-A Oklahoma City's 1-0 victory. He went 3-for-9 in his two games for Oklahoma City.The plan is for him to rejoin the Rangers on Thursday and be activated on Friday. The Rangers want to give him a day off before bringing him off the disabled list. Manager Ron Washington said he still plans to bat Cruz sixth in the order behind Ian Kinsler. The Rangers will likely return outfielder Craig Gentry back to Triple-A when Cruz is ready. Gentry was in the original lineup on Wednesday night, but was scratched with an upset stomach.
Rangers pitchers were out early for bunting practice on Wednesday in preparation for the upcoming Interleague games in National League cities. They'll start taking batting practice on the next homestand. ... Scott Kazmir and Jered Weaver are expected to be the Angels' pitchers on Monday and Tuesday when they face the Rangers at the Ballpark in Arlington. ... There will be no Kevin Millwood when the Rangers face the Orioles next week in a two-game series on Wednesday and Thursday at the Ballpark. Millwood is scheduled to pitch Thursday against the Mariners and again on Tuesday against the Royals. Texas will likely see Jeremy Guthrie and Brian Matusz. ... The Rangers hit two home runs on Tuesday. It was only their third multi-homer game. They had 19 multi-homer games in their first 33 games in 2009.
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com.This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.