Rangers may skip Harden in next rotation turn
Pair of off-days this week could lead to pitching changes
OAKLAND -- The Rangers are mulling the possibility of altering their rotation and skipping Rich Harden in his next start.But there are no plans right now to take him out of the rotation altogether. "Rich is going to get the ball," manager Ron Washington said before Sunday's game against the A's. The Rangers have two days off on Monday and Thursday. As it stands, the Rangers won't need a fifth starter until Aug. 17 against Tampa Bay. Harden's next start right now is scheduled for Saturday against the Red Sox, but that could change. "With those off-days we could make some adjustments," manager Ron Washington said. "We haven't decided that yet." The alternative is to stay with the current rotation and let all starters except Cliff Lee get extra rest. Lee pitches every fifth day but giving the other starters extra rest at this point in the season has some appeal to Washington. After Thursday's day off, the Rangers play 20 straight games before their next off-day. "That's when the grind begins," Washington said. Harden went 21/3 innings and allowed three runs in a 6-2 loss to the Athletics on Saturday in his second start since coming off the disabled list. He won his first start, 2-1, with seven strong innings against the Angels in Anaheim the previous Saturday. Derek Holland gives the Rangers an option for their rotation. He threw six scoreless innings for Triple-A Oklahoma City against Salt Lake on Saturday night. He allowed four hits, walked two and struck out three. After missing more than two months because of shoulder inflammation and a sprained knee, Holland is once again a viable option. "He threw the ball well," Washington said. "He was down in the zone and commanded his pitches." Washington said the plan is still for Holland to remain in Oklahoma City for now. "That's where he is," Washington said. "Right now we're getting him ready for his next start at Oklahoma City. We'll see if that changes. I have nothing on that right now." The Rangers still want to give Harden a chance to get going, but aren't likely to wait too long.
Guerrero rests while trying to shake slump
OAKLAND -- Vladimir Guerrero was given his second day off on this road trip when he was out of the lineup on Sunday against the A's.Josh Hamilton was at designated hitter and Michael Young was at third base. Washington originally planned to use Young at DH, but decided to give Hamilton the day off from defense. He had started four straight games in center field. Guerrero is still struggling at the plate. Since the beginning of July, he is hitting .215 with three home runs and 18 RBIs in 31 games. He has a .280 on-base percentage and a .339 slugging percentage in that stretch. "The main thing is he's not finding the fat part of the bat," Washington said. "I can't say it's pitch selection because I don't think he has pitch selection. We just have to wait him out." Young has also hit a skid. He has four hits in his past 34 at-bats going into Sunday's game. "He's a grinder, he'll figure it out too," Washington said. "As long as somebody in our lineup is doing something and as long as our pitcher holds up, we'll be fine. You go through struggles like this. We'll grind through it. We need those guys. They'll come out of it." Elvis Andrus, Young and Hamilton were a combined 0-for-11 with a walk on Saturday at the top of the Rangers lineup. The last time the Rangers' first three hitters were hitless in a game was on April 7-8 in two games against the Blue Jays.
Borbon gets back in the Rangers' lineup
OAKLAND -- Julio Borbon was asked Sunday morning how he was doing."Well rested that's for sure," he joked. Borbon was back in the lineup on Sunday after sitting for four straight games. Manager Ron Washington has been going with David Murphy at Borbon's expense. "It has been a little bit tough," Borbon said. "It's been an unusual stretch for my body. You get used to playing and you shut it down like that, it feels like you've been on the disabled list. But it also helps get rid of the aches and soreness. You just have to keep practicing and be ready when your time comes." Murphy went into Sunday's game with six hits, including two home runs, in his past 16 at-bats over four games. With Vladimir Guerrero getting the day off and Josh Hamilton being used at designated hitter, Murphy was back in the lineup on Sunday. "He's as hot as anybody," Borbon said. "That's the thing we need. He's the one really helping us out. There is no reason to take him out."
Moreland looking comfortable in big leagues
OAKLAND -- Mitch Moreland was back in the lineup on Sunday after sitting two straight days with left-handers starting for the A's. Manager Ron Washington has been sticking with his plan of starting Jorge Cantu against left-handers and Moreland against right-handers."It doesn't matter to me," Moreland said. "Whether I'm facing left-handers or right-handers ... when I'm out there I just go out there and contribute and compete." Moreland hasn't looked overwhelmed by anybody. He went into Sunday's game with seven hits in 21 at-bats in his first six Major League games. That includes 2-for-5 against left-handers. "So far so good ... it's been a blast," Moreland said. "I'm just trying to do what I can."
Big week of attendance ahead for Rangers
OAKLAND -- The Rangers are looking at five straight crowds of 40,000-plus with the Yankees and the Red Sox coming into town.As of Sunday morning, there were approximately 5,500 tickets remaining for Tuesday's game against the Yankees and 6,000 remain for Wednesday. There are about 7,000 tickets remaining for each of Friday and Saturday's game against the Red Sox. There are plenty of seats available for Sunday afternoon against the Red Sox.
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.