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05/10/07 2:00 PM ET
Notes: New pitch treats Wilson well
Left-handed reliever finds success with mysterious gyroball
By T.R. Sullivan / MLB.com
NEW YORK -- The gyroball -- a pitch supposedly made famous by Red Sox right-hander Daisuke Matsuzaka -- is working for Rangers reliever C.J. Wilson. Wilson said he used the gyro to strike out Bobby Abreu during his 3 1/3 innings of shutout relief in the Rangers' 6-2 loss to the Yankees on Wednesday. Wilson learned the pitch in Spring Training. When thrown by a left-hander, it moves up and away from a right-handed hitter, and Wilson has incorporated it into his repertoire. "I usually throw one or two a game, depending on the situation and how I feel," Wilson said. "I had all my other five pitches going [on Wednesday], so I decided to try the sixth. I was inspired by watching Mike Mussina." Wilson said he has struck out five batters with the gyroball this season. "I also got a couple of walks, because some guys don't have strikes called against them," Wilson said. "I probably had at least five strikeouts and probably three more that were called balls. I haven't had anybody really swing at it -- mostly check-swings." The 3 1/3 scoreless innings dropped Wilson's ERA to 2.63, and he has been scored upon just once in his last 10 games. But manager Ron Washington was most impressed that Wilson did not walk a batter. Prior to Wednesday's outing, Wilson had walked eight in 10 1/3 innings. "I saw C.J. Wilson pitch," Washington said. "He used all his pitches anytime in the count. He's not trying to pump the ball past people. Last night, maybe he grew up and realized he has enough stuff to get people out." Connor on Tejeda: With Kevin Millwood scheduled to come off the disabled list on Monday, Robinson Tejeda will get an extra day of rest before his next start on Tuesday against the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. But the Rangers still expect Tejeda to be ready, even though he has been dealing with some physical issues in his right arm and left hamstring. Tejeda allowed six runs in 4 2/3 innings on Wednesday. "He's got a little bit of stiffness," pitching coach Mark Connor said. "His stuff was fine; his location was what was killing him. He was getting ahead of hitters and then throwing the ball down the middle on a 1-2 count. He's not going to be perfect every time out." Millwood played catch in the outfield again on Thursday and is planning to throw in the bullpen on Friday and Saturday to test his hamstring. Wright watch: Jamey Wright, on the disabled list with shoulder inflammation, is up to 35 pitches in his bullpen sessions but has not yet begun to throw his offspeed pitches. The good news is that most of the soreness is finally out of Wright's shoulder. Once he gets up to 60 pitches and is throwing his breaking ball effectively, Wright could be close to going out on a medical rehabilitation assignment. "It's getting there," Wright said. "I'm just trying to get back into shape. It's a little achy, but nothing like it was. That's good." Yankees deliver in clutch: The New York Yankees entered Thursday's game hitting .283 with two outs and runners in scoring position. That's the highest in the American League, and Washington said that's been the difference in their games with the Rangers. "They get the big knocks when there are two outs," Washington said. "The good teams do that. You have to do that to be successful." The Rangers were fifth in the league with a .271 average. He said it: "I hate it. I missed five innings last night, and it seemed like a week." -- Rangers shortstop Michael Young, who was out of the lineup for the first time this season on Thursday Wednesday's Minor stars: Top performances from the Rangers' Minor League clubs on Wednesday: Double-A Frisco right-hander Doug Mathis improved to 3-1 with a 1.40 ERA with seven scoreless innings in a 2-1 victory over Corpus Christi. He allowed one hit, walked four and struck out four. Class A Clinton third baseman John Whittleman went 2-for-4 with a double, a home run and three RBIs in a 6-4 loss to Burlington. Frisco outfielder Anthony Webster went 2-for-3 with a home run in the win over Corpus Christi. Briefly: Washington said that he expects Young to be back in the lineup on Friday against the Angels. ... With Young out on Thursday, Washington moved Brad Wilkerson into the No. 2 spot in the order between Kenny Lofton and Mark Teixeira. The top three spots in the order were 8-for-61 (.131) in the Rangers' first five games against the Yankees this year. ... Double-A pitcher Luis Mendoza and Class A Bakersfield catcher Taylor Teagarden have been activated from the disabled list. ... Washington will do his weekly radio show live at 10:15 a.m. CT on Friday at the new Starpower store in Southlake, which is located at 1431 East Southlake Blvd., across from Southlake Town Center. Up next: Right-hander Vicente Padilla (1-4, 4.93 ERA) will pitch for the Rangers at 7:05 p.m. CT on Friday at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington as they open up a four-game series with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. Right-hander John Lackey (4-3, 2.60 ERA) will pitch for the Angels.
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.