Pitching injuries pile up in Minor Leagues
Rangers place four prominent hurlers on disabled list
ARLINGTON -- Rangers pitching injuries are piling up in the Minor Leagues. The team placed four prominent pitchers on the disabled list on Monday. Left-handed reliever Clay Rapada, who had a 3.00 ERA in 14 relief appearances at Triple-A Oklahoma City, went on the disabled list with a sore shoulder. Left-handed starter Kasey Kiker, the Rangers' No. 1 Draft pick from 2005, was placed on the disabled list at Double-A Frisco with nerve irritation in his left elbow. He is 1-4 with a 5.73 ERA in seven starts. Class A Bakersfield pitchers Kennil Gomez (ankle) and Fabio Castillo (strained rib-cage muscle) were also placed on the disabled list. Gomez was 1-3 with a 6.14 ERA in six starts and one relief appearance and Castillo had a 2.08 ERA in nine relief appearances. The Rangers did activate pitcher Omar Beltre off the disabled list at Oklahoma City and promoted pitcher Wilmer Font from Hickory to Bakersfield. He was 4-1 with a 5.16 ERA for Hickory in the Class A South Atlantic League. Pitcher Andrew Laughter has also been assigned to Class A Bakersfield.
Reluctant Hamilton given night off in Texas
ARLINGTON -- Rangers outfielder Josh Hamilton wanted to be in the lineup on Monday night against the Angels.Manager Ron Washington decided otherwise and gave Hamilton the night off against Angels left-hander Scott Kazmir. The move came after Hamilton was 1-for-13 with nine strikeouts during the Rangers' three-game series with the Blue Jays over the weekend in Toronto. "He looks fatigued mentally and physically," Washington said. "I planned to give him a day off after yesterday and stuck with it." Hamilton didn't think a day off would do him any good. "Absolutely not," Hamilton said. "It makes things worse mentally. If I'm not hitting, I still want to be in the lineup. I can still contribute defensively. But I don't make out the lineup, so I will do what I'm told." The night off makes sense in one respect. Hamilton is hitting .191 against left-handers this season. He faced two left-handed starters in Toronto and seven of his 13 at-bats were against left-handers up there. "Honestly I don't pay attention to the numbers," Hamilton said. "I had a tough series in Toronto, but, other than that, I feel like I'm swinging the bat good. I'm really not worried about that." Washington's main goal is to keep all his players fresh for the entire 162-game season. Hamilton admitted the past few games have been a struggle. "I've felt good all year but the last couple of games I've felt I didn't have a clue," Hamilton said. "Maybe that's why skip is giving me a day off, thinking that will help." Hamilton is also hitting .206 in day games. Washington admitted he might give consideration to giving Hamilton a day off when the Rangers are playing in the afternoon. But it's hard to believe that would be a permanent situation. "You've got to help a guy get through things if the numbers say he can't do something," Washington said. "But with his athletic ability, there's no reason why he can't deal with anything."
Oliver missed by Scioscia, Angels
ARLINGTON -- Darren Oliver will be facing the Angels for the first time this week after spending the past three years in their bullpen. Angels manager Mike Scioscia admitted that they miss Oliver's services as their left-handed reliever."I think of all the guys as we've gotten off to a rough start and people talk about the guys that are missing, probably the guy that's as important as anything and gets the least amount of talk is D.O.," Scioscia said. "He was very, very important to our bullpen, filled a variety of roles. And I think he's obviously having a great start with Texas, he's definitely a guy who has left some footprints in our bullpen that we're trying to fill." Oliver has a 1.93 ERA over his first 18 games in his third tour with the Rangers. Oliver was with the Rangers in 1993-98 and again in 2000-01. Both times the they traded him away, once to the Cardinals in 1998 and again to the Red Sox after the 2001 season. "I can't say bad anything about the Angels," Oliver said. "I enjoyed my time with them. It's part of the game. The first time I got traded I was bitter but now I've been around and I know how it works. "If I was bitter, I wouldn't be here for the third time. Never burn bridges because you don't know what life will throw at you."
Scioscia empathizes with Saltalamacchia
ARLINGTON -- Angels manager Mike Scioscia spent 13 years in the Major Leagues as a catcher and has an understanding for the position. He can empathize with what's going on with catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia and what he is going through at Triple-A Oklahoma City.Saltalamacchia was optioned there last month and remains in Oklahoma City because he is still having trouble throwing the ball back to the pitcher. "He has a terrific arm, I think when he throws to second base, he's accurate," Scioscia said. "So, when he throws to the pitcher, we've learned through some guys who have had it, it's obviously a feel and release-point issue where he doesn't feel comfortable throwing short distances. I wouldn't say it's very common, but it does happen to some players." Saltalamacchia is trying to work through some mechanical issues that came up after his shoulder surgery from September. But he is also working daily with the Rangers performance enhancement coaching staff on the mental aspects of his issues. Manager Ron Washington admitted that Saltalamacchia "probably would" be in the Majors right now if not for his throwing problems.
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.