ARLINGTON -- Friday night marked the third time on the homestand that manager Ron Washington replaced Michael Young with Mitch Moreland in the field in the ninth inning. The Rangers had the lead in all three games but the Royals tied it in the ninth on Friday. That left Young on the bench for five innings when the game went into extra innings.But Washington said that he was following a maxim used by Hall of Fame manager Whitey Herzog and others, that you do everything you can to win the game in nine innings. "I was defending the last three outs of the game," Washington said. "Ninth inning, one-run lead, I'm defending the lead. Mitch is our first baseman. Michael is still adjusting over there. I put our best defensive team on the field." Washington's moves went beyond replacing Young with Moreland. With Josh Hamilton limited to designated hitter duties, Moreland has had to play right field so Young could be at first. The Rangers also had David Murphy in center and Nelson Cruz in left. Washington inserted Craig Gentry into center, moved Murphy to left, Cruz to right and Moreland to first base. Gentry is the Rangers best defensive outfielder so Washington got a premium defender in center. Murphy was an upgrade over Moreland on the flank and Moreland moved to first. "I improved myself in three different spots," Washington said. Gentry reinforced the manager's decision by making a tremendous jumping catch against the wall in right-center, taking a run-scoring double away from Billy Butler to end the 12th.
Harrison exits early with blister on finger
ARLINGTON -- Matt Harrison was removed from Saturday's 10-1 win over the Royals because of concerns about a blood blister that developed on his left index finger.Harrison said that he noticed the blister just after the fifth inning while sitting in the clubhouse preparing for the next inning. "I went back out for the sixth and it started getting bigger and bigger," Harrison said of the blister. "I wanted to go seven, but they wanted to shut it down and get it taken care of so I don't miss a start. After pitching the sixth, Rangers president -- and Hall of Famer -- Nolan Ryan, who sits next to the Rangers' dugout, went back and looked at the finger, before telling Harrison that it would be best for his night to end after six innings. "I was trying to talk my way into going out there for another inning, but then they called Nolan in to look at it, and he said it was best to get it taken care of now," Harrison said. "If it busts open out there on the mound it is only going to make it worse. "From what I've heard he's dealt with them his whole career, so I think he knows a thing or two about helping to maintain it." Harrison said that the Texas humidity could have been part of the reason for the blister, the first he has suffered in five years, he estimated. "I don't know if it had something to do with it," Harrison said. "It was so humid out there today. I kept touching my hat, my fingers would get wet and then I'd rub on the seams and stuff." There is no indication that suggests that he will miss his next start, which is scheduled for June 2 against the Indians.
Feliz looking for balance on the mound
ARLINGTON -- Before he went on the disabled list with shoulder inflammation, the Rangers thought that Neftali Feliz was trying to "pitch" too much and relying too much on his offspeed stuff.Since coming back, Feliz has gone in the opposite direction. He has been relying too much on his fastball. "He's the one that has to find that balance and he will find that balance," Rangers manager Ron Washington said. "We're just waiting for him to find his groove." Feliz suffered his third blown save on Friday night when he gave up a one-out home run to Alex Gordon. The Rangers led 7-6 at the time and ended up losing in the 14th inning. Gordon's home run came on the 10th pitch of the inning. It was also Feliz's 10th straight fastball. Between innings, pitching coach Mike Maddux told him to use more sliders. Feliz did and retired the side in order in the 10th. Catcher Yorvit Torrealba has also talked to Feliz about it. "He said next time out I need to throw more breaking pitches," Feliz said. "He said we need to throw something different because I was throwing good pitches and not getting good results. "I'm going to use my fastball. That's my pitch. Sometimes, I understand that I have to throw breaking pitches because I have to change the eye of the hitter, confuse him a little bit and make those pitches work in my favor, but then when I come back I have to come back with my fastball." Feliz has been studying video of himself this season and from 2010 when he was the American League Rookie of the Year. "Comparing this season to last season, I look at myself and see that I was more relaxed," Feliz said. "I am throwing too fast and throwing too in a hurry this time. Maybe that's the problem. When I looked at my videos for this year, that's what so far I've found out. "I feel good. I'm coming too wide open with my shoulder when I'm releasing the ball. That's one of the problems I have to make an adjustment for, on my mechanics, because my mechanics are a little different than last year."
Hamilton plays field for first time since injury
ARLINGTON -- Josh Hamilton was back in left field on Saturday night, his first start in the field since suffering a broken bone below his lower right shoulder on April 12 against the Tigers. He has been looking forward to this."I enjoy being out there and taking hits away from people," Hamilton said. "Help my pitcher by getting people out or like [David Murphy], throwing people out with your arm. If you are a competitor, you want to be out there as much as possible." Hamilton started four straight games at designated hitter after being activated off the disabled list on Monday. "It was not as bad as I thought," Hamilton said. "My body felt good. I wasn't standing around for 3 1/2 hours in the outfield. That's what my body needed to get back into game shape. I was more locked into the game than I thought I would be. It was a good learning experience. I've never done it that many times in a row." So is DH in his future? "Not at this point in my career, but it's always a fallback position," Hamilton said.
Hurley tosses 25-pitch bullpen session
ARLINGTON -- Rangers hard-luck pitcher Eric Hurley threw in the bullpen on Saturday, his first time on a mound since getting hit in the head by a line drive during a game. Hurley threw approximately 25 pitches."It went real well," Hurley said. "I threw strikes and I threw my changeup." Hurley is on the 60-day disabled list while recovering from his latest major setback. He was pitching for Round Rock against New Orleans and was hit on the right side of his head by a line drive off the bat of Bryan Petersen. "There is a video and it's not pretty," Hurley said. "I watched it one time. I couldn't do it again. Petersen came to the hospital and we chatted a little bit. He has sent me a couple of text messages. Unbelievable guy. A professional for sure." The start was just Hurley's second of the season after missing all of the past two years because of a torn rotator cuff and broken left wrist. He also had to skip a start early in the season because of a viral infection. He hasn't had the best of luck but he said that that hasn't broken his morale. "I'm solid," Hurley said. "You can't break me. I've been through too much."
On Saturday the Rangers hosted over 250 firefighters who helped battle the recent wildfires near Strawn and Possum Kingdom Lake. The firefighters were led onto the field in pre-game ceremonies by the family and friends of Greg Simmons, an Eastland firefighter who lost his life helping evacuate the town of Gorman during the fires. Friday night marked the 10th time this season that the Rangers have lost a game in the opponent's last at-bat. That's tied for the third most in the Majors. The Rangers also made Major League history on Friday by becoming the first team ever to allow three home runs in an inning in the 14th inning or later. Nelson Cruz was 0-for-7 on Friday. He is the 13th Rangers player to ever go hitless in at least seven at-bats in a game. Rafael Palmeiro was 0-for-9 in a June 6, 1991 game against the Royals and Roy Smalley was 0-for-8 in the second game of a doubleheader against the Indians on June 8, 1975.
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.