Murphy no longer merely a platoon player
Hitting .375 against southpaws, lefty batter to play every day
BOSTON -- David Murphy, who is hitting .375 (15-for-40) against left-handers, is no longer a platoon player starting only against right-handers.Rangers manager Ron Washington said he has told Murphy that he is now an everyday player, and that means he will start against left-handed pitchers, as well. Craig Gentry had been starting against lefties, but he has cooled off, with just two hits in his past 16 at-bats. "When I told Murph he would start against left-handers, I told him to get mentally prepared for it," Washington said. "Now he's focused on it. Murphy is knocking the heck out of the ball, so I've decided to have him go against everybody until he proves otherwise." Murphy went into Wednesday's game hitting .421 (16-for-38) with eight RBIs in his past 12 games, and .364 with four home runs and 24 RBIs in his past 42 games. "I'm just going on what he's doing right now," Washington said. "I'm not looking at matchups. When we were struggling offensively, I just decided to put the best guys out there, and when I did that, we started to come around. His defense is better, his baserunning has been better and this is his time of the year. We all know he can hit."
Nathan to pitch exclusively in save opportunities
BOSTON -- Rangers manager Ron Washington has often used Joe Nathan in non-save situations this season. Washington would like to stop doing that.Nathan earned his 22nd save on Tuesday night in a 6-3 victory over the Red Sox. But Washington had Alexi Ogando warming up next to Nathan in the top of the ninth inning while the Rangers had a rally going. If the Rangers had taken a four-run lead -- eliminating a save situation -- Washington said he was going to use Ogando to finish the game. "Since we're going down the stretch and with the workload that Nathan has taken on, I'm not going to let him come out there in a non-save situation," Washington said. "I'm going to try and use him in save situations and save some bullets." Nathan was used in two non-save situations last week in Arlington, and he ended up throwing 62 pitches on Wednesday and Thursday. The Rangers had to give him two days off to recover, and then didn't use him Sunday or Monday. So Nathan had four days off before taking the mound on Tuesday night. "Having two days off helps you physically and gives you a mental break," Nathan said. "Getting the extra two days helped, as well. I felt really good last night, my pitches were crisp, my breaking ball felt sharper and I had a little more life on my fastball." Nathan has now been successful on 20 consecutive save opportunities, one shy of the club record for one season, set by Francisco Cordero with 21 straight in 2004. The Rangers' five blown saves are the fewest in the Majors.
Soto spells Napoli; Torrealba put on release waivers
BOSTON -- Mike Napoli was out of the Rangers' lineup for a second consecutive game on Wednesday because of soreness in his left quad muscle. Geovany Soto spelled him behind the plate, as he did on Tuesday.Texas also announced that catcher Yorvit Torrealba has been placed on release waivers. Teams have 48 hours to claim him; otherwise, he will be released on Friday and become a free agent. Torrealba was designated for assignment last week after the Rangers acquired Soto from the Cubs. Soto was in the lineup Wednesday for the fifth time since being acquired from the Cubs. He entered 3-for-14 with three walks, four runs scored and two RBIs in his first four starts. His hit-and-run single in the seventh inning against Red Sox starter Jon Lester was one of the big hits in the Rangers' 6-3 victory on Tuesday. "He plays with a lot of energy," manager Ron Washington said. "He's a good receiver, and he's got a true baseball when he throws down to second base. His throws don't run or sink, they stay on a true line. His forte, what we were told when we got him, is that his sole interest is getting his pitchers through their innings, and he's done that." Washington said he doesn't have a specfic plan for how he'll use his catchers, but it's apparent that Soto will likely play more frequently than Torrealba did when he was Napoli's backup. "He will play," Washington said of Soto. "I won't hesitate to put him in the lineup."
Lowe expected to return to Rangers on Friday
BOSTON -- The Rangers expect to activate reliever Mark Lowe off the disabled list Friday when they open a three-game series against the Tigers at the Ballpark in Arlington. Lowe pitched a scoreless inning on Tuesday night for Triple-A Round Rock in his fifth outing on a medical rehabilitation assignment.Texas wanted to see Lowe pitch in back-to-back games, and he did so without a problem. He pitched Monday and Tuesday for Round Rock, retiring all six batters he faced and striking out four. "He's done everything we've asked of him," manager Ron Washington said. Lowe has been on the disabled list since June 26 with a strained intercostal muscle in his right rib cage.
Right-hander Koji Uehara, on the disabled list with a strained lat muscle in his right rib cage, is scheduled to be examined by Dr. Keith Meister on Thursday. If he gets clearance, Uehara is expected to resume throwing off a mound again. He may not return to the bullpen until the rosters are expanded in September.
Ian Kinsler stole his 20th base in the first inning on Wednesday. That gives him five 20-steal seasons, most in club history. Nelson Cruz went into Wednesday's game with a career .421 batting average (24-for-57) at Fenway Park, the second highest by a Boston opponent with at least 50 at-bats. Will Clark hit .434 (43-for-99) in his career at Fenway Park. Former Rangers catcher Geno Petralli hit .414 (36-for-87), the third best. The Rangers have just scattered singles, obstructed view and standing-room tickets left for games against the Tigers on Friday and Saturday. Approximately 3,000 tickets remain for Sunday.
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.