Rangers go with extra bench player in ALDS
Club opts for German's speed rather than seventh bullpen arm
ST. PETERSBURG -- The Rangers have placed infielder Esteban German on their postseason roster and will go with a six-man bullpen that includes left-hander Derek Holland and right-hander Dustin Nippert.German's primary role will be as a pinch-runner, giving the Rangers some late-inning speed off the bench, especially for catchers Bengie Molina and Matt Treanor. "We needed speed," Rangers manager Ron Washington said. "We've got a few guys we might have to pinch-run for and we wanted to make sure we have that covered." Washington could also use German late in a game to run for Vladimir Guerrero. David Murphy, who is on the roster despite a mildly strained left groin muscle, is another pinch-running possibility. As expected, the Rangers kept Mitch Moreland and Jorge Cantu as their first basemen, leaving Chris Davis off the roster. Davis had a chance of making the roster but that was cut short when he came down sick during the final days of the regular season while Moreland finished strong. Moreland had seven hits, including four home runs, in his final 21 at-bats. "Moreland earned it," Washington said. Holland gives the Rangers a second left-hander in the bullpen behind setup reliever Darren Oliver. The Rangers considered Clay Rapada as a left-handed specialist but left-handed hitters batted .130 (6-for-46) off Holland. Holland can also give the Rangers multiple innings if needed. "He pitched some big games for us," Washington said. "He's not a guy you just use in left-right situations. He can come in, pitch an inning and then give us another." So can Nippert, who made the team as a long reliever. He and Holland are part of a bullpen that also includes closer Neftali Feliz, right-handed setup relievers Darren O'Day and Alexi Ogando, and Oliver. Frank Francisco, the Rangers' primary setup reliever for most of the season, remains sidelined with a strained muscle in his right rib cage. Holland was taken over Rapada and Michael Kirkman, who had a 1.65 ERA for the Rangers since being called up from Triple-A Oklahoma City. The Rangers discussed having a seven-man bullpen. But their relievers should all be rested from the regular season and there are only two games in Tampa Bay before another day off on Friday. The Rangers preferred having the speed off the bench. German stole 50 bases at Oklahoma City this season and four more in 13 games as a September callup. The roster selected for the ALDS is just for this series, and can be changed for any ensuing series.
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields and follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.