OAKLAND -- With Alexi Ogando going into the rotation, Koji Uehara becomes the Rangers' primary seventh-inning setup reliever in front of Mike Adams and Joe Nathan. That was Ogando's role before replacing Derek Holland in the rotation.Uehara earned that role. He went into Thursday's game with a 1.33 ERA, the fifth lowest for a reliever in the American League. Opponents were hitting .130 off him, the third lowest for a reliever. His 0.54 walks and hits per innings pitched (WHIP) was the lowest. "He has pitched extremely well, now he has a chance to step it up," manager Ron Washington said. "He'll be in the seventh or eighth innings, depending on the availability of Adams. He's done a great job." Tanner Scheppers was recalled from Triple-A Round Rock to replace Ogando in the bullpen. He'll likely pitch in middle relief, and he can give the Rangers multiple innings. He went two innings in his last outing for Round Rock. "We know what he can do," Washington said. "We'll see how he reacts when he takes the ball, but our intent is he can give us more than one inning." Scheppers also assumes another vital role. Since he is the junior member of the bullpen, Robbie Ross no longer has to carry the candy bag and other equipment out to the bullpen while wearing his cowboy outfit.
Rangers agree to terms with 18 Draft picks
ARLINGTON -- The Rangers have reached agreements with 18 of the 43 players they selected in the First-Year Player Draft this week, including each player they picked from the fourth through the 10th rounds.
Polk State right-handed pitcher Alec Asher, the Rangers' fourth-round pick, and fifth-round selection Preston Beck, a University of Texas-Arlington outfielder and Dallas native, were the highest-drafted players who have signed with the Rangers. Gonzaga outfielder Royce Bolinger (sixth round), Oral Roberts second baseman Cam Schiller (seventh round), and three right-handed pitchers taken in Rounds 8-10 have also signed.
None of the six players -- five of which were drafted out of high school -- picked by the Rangers in the first three rounds have reached an agreement. First-round pick Lewis Brinson said on Monday that he was close to a deal. The other two players taken by the team on Monday, third baseman Joey Gallo and pitcher Colin Wiles, also remain unsigned, along with second-round picks Jamie Jarmon and Nick Williams, both outfielders.
Washington not making changes to lineup
OAKLAND -- One day after his team was shut out for the first time this season, Rangers manager Ron Washington went with the same lineup for right-hander Brandon McCarthy on Thursday as he did against Bartolo Colon on Wednesday night."I can't shake up that lineup," Washington said. "You've just got to wait on them. I've said all along they are the ones we have to ride, so I'm going to put a saddle on them and ride them. Sometimes they're going to step in some mud, and sometimes they're going to find a dry track and run away. We're going to ride them." The Rangers are hitting .259 with a .383 slugging percentage in their last eight games, scoring just 29 runs in the process. They have also hit just three home runs in those eight games. "Obviously, we haven't been hitting on all cylinders the last seven to 10 games," hitting coach Scott Coolbaugh said. "It's just one of those things where we haven't been able to string consistent at-bats together, and when situations do come up, we haven't gotten it done all the time. "It's all about staying the course, playing hard and keep working, keep grinding. It's the teams that are mentally tough and mentally strong that endure, and this team has that. This team has too much talent offensively for this to carry on."
Double-A Frisco infielder Mike Olt hit his 18th home run of the season on Wednesday night. He leads the Texas League with 18 home runs, including nine in his last 10 games. The Rangers-Athletics game on Wednesday lasted two hours, four minutes. It was the quickest game in the American League this year. The Rangers have two complete games this season, and both were eight-inning losses. Colby Lewis had one on Wednesday night, and the other was by Neftali Feliz on April 21 against the Tigers.
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields, and follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger. Christian Corona is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.