Rangers add two lefties to roster for ALCS
Rapada, Kirkman added to bullpen; German, Nippert left off
ARLINGTON -- The Rangers added a pair of left-handers to their bullpen for the American League Championship Series on Friday.
Clay Rapada and Michael Kirkman were included on the 25-man roster, and infielder Esteban German and right-hander Dustin Nippert, who had been on the Division Series roster, were removed to make room.
"As a group, we felt it was the best fit," general manager Jon Daniels said. "Each of the options brought something different to the table, but these guys complement the rest of the team best and how [manager Ron Washington] wants to use the bullpen."
German was on the Division Series roster mainly to be a late-inning pinch-runner, but was never used in the five games against the Rays. Nippert appeared in Game 3, a 6-3 Rangers loss, allowing two runs on two hits in one inning.
The Rangers decided that they needed the extra relievers for a bullpen that already includes closer Neftali Feliz, left-handers Darren Oliver and Derek Holland and right-handers Darren O'Day and Alexi Ogando.
Rangers relievers were 0-1 with a 5.27 ERA in the Division Series. They combined to pitch 13 2/3 innings and allowed eight runs on 16 hits and five walks while striking out 15.
But during the regular season, Rangers relievers combined for a 3.38 ERA, the second lowest in the American League. Opponents hit .236 off them, third lowest in the league.
With O'Day, Oliver and Feliz doing all of the work, Rangers relievers pitched 4 2/3 scoreless innings in the first two ALDS games at Tampa Bay. They had their problems in Arlington when Ogando, Holland and Nippert were thrown into the fray.
"You're going to give up runs once in a while," O'Day said. "It happens. What's good is [manager Ron Washington] made sure guys got their feet wet. I don't care who you are, your first game in the playoffs, there is going to be some nerves.
"I think in this series you will see more out of our bullpen depth. Not that our starters won't go seven or eight innings, but I think you'll see the back of the bullpen do more."
Hamilton to play through soreness in rib cage
ARLINGTON -- Rangers outfielder Josh Hamilton acknowledged that he is still sore because of two small fractures in his left rib cage, but that will not stop him from playing in the American League Championship Series against the Yankees.
Hamilton went 2-for-18 during the AL Division Series but didn't blame his disappointing performance on the injury, which he suffered in September.
Hamilton blamed his lackluster performance on trying to do too much at the plate.
"I'm very sore, but there is nothing that is going to limit me as far as what I'm going to be able to do on the field as far as going after balls," Hamilton said. "So I'm going to play the game hard. So it really doesn't affect anything.
"If I did what I was supposed to do and not try to create stuff and make stuff happen, then [the hitting] wouldn't be a problem. Since I tried to do that, it has been a little more difficult to get back to my approach to where I need to be. I came in early and worked on some things that needed to be worked on."
Lee not focused on pending free agency
ARLINGTON -- The Rangers don't know if they will be able to re-sign Cliff Lee. They have made it clear they want to do so but also know that he will be heavily pursued by other teams.The Rangers are only hoping that going deep into the playoffs and even to the World Series will prove to Lee that this is a good place to be if he wants to be in a winning situation. "I've gotten in his ear a little bit, but Cliff knows this is a good place to play," third baseman Michael Young said. "Obviously, we have good things going on here, great fan base, great city, everything a winning player would want to be a part of. But first things first: We need to win." Lee said he is not focused on free agency but admitted being a part of a World Series team in Texas would be something to think about come free agency. "I don't really get caught up in that all, to be honest with you," Lee said. "I'm a Texas Ranger right now and we're in a good position and we're going to try to win a World Series ring. That's where my focus is. I'm not worried at all about what's going to happen in the offseason or any of that. That's not consuming any of my thoughts. "Once you get to a World Series with a team, that in itself is hard to do. There's something special about that group of guys any time you get there, and especially if you win it, you want to come back with the same guys and do it again. Yeah, there's a lot of truth to that. Time will tell on that. I don't know." Lee admitted he didn't like being traded by the Phillies after pitching them to the World Series in 2009. "I really wasn't happy about being traded in that situation," Lee said. "I enjoyed my teammates. We made it to the World Series. They were the defending world champions from the year before. There's a lot of good things going on there and I wanted to be a part of it and I felt like I was last year coming down the stretch.
"It's a business, too. You can't control those things. I would have liked to have continued to be there and be part of that, but I wasn't."
Treanor gets call to catch Game 1 for Rangers
ARLINGTON -- Rangers manager Ron Washington has decided that catcher Matt Treanor will start Game 1 of the American League Championship Series against the Yankees.
Washington pointed out that Treanor works well with left-hander C.J. Wilson, the Game 1 starter. The last time they worked together was in Game 2 of the AL Division Series. In that game, Wilson pitched 6 1/3 innings in a 6-0 victory over the Rays.
"C.J. is a guy that has a lot of movement on his pitches and throws a lot of breaking balls," Washington said. "Treanor is very good with balls in the dirt and he also calls a pretty good game. And the times that he's caught C.J., he's done a good job of getting him through the innings."
Treanor said he works well with Wilson because he communicates a lot more than he did in the past. Treanor learned to be proactive by watching teammate Bengie Molina work behind the plate. It also helps that Treanor and Wilson are able to adjust during the game.
"That's one thing I learned from Bengie is to make sure that I come in between innings and not take things for granted and make sure that we are on the same page," Treanor said. "I think communicating has been a big part of why I feel pretty good catching C.J. I'm going to continue to do that."
Molina, normally the starter, said he was not upset about starting Game 1 on the bench. He acknowledged that Treanor and Wilson work well together.
"I'm up for it. They are so great together," Molina said. "I'm really excited, I can't wait for that game. I think he is going to be great. I wish them the best of luck. C.J. has been throwing the ball well with him."
Rangers could start Cantu vs. Yankees lefties
ARLINGTON -- The Yankees will have two lefties starting against the Rangers in the American League Championship Series. With left-hander CC Sabathia starting for New York in Game 1, Jorge Cantu most likely will get the start at first base although he has not been told that officially.
In the AL Division Series, Cantu started Game 1 against the Rays, but didn't play the rest of the series. Instead, Mitch Moreland saw most of the action and started against Rays left-hander David Price in Game 5.
"I haven't talked to Ron, but he did talk to me before the last game in Tampa," Cantu said. "I was supposed to start, but I didn't.
"As a professional, I just take it as it is. He is the manager. He puts together the lineup. On my end, I just need to be ready. Hopefully, I'm in there tomorrow and in Game 3 when [Andy] Pettitte throws. If that doesn't work out, I'm his guy coming off the bench."
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields and follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger. Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the time. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.