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05/24/08 7:20 PM ET
Rangers' Gabbard insists he feels fine
Pitching coach Connor discounts chance of physical ailments
By T.R. Sullivan / MLB.com
CLEVELAND -- Kason Gabbard's six walks in 2 2/3 innings on Friday were his second highest total of walks since being traded to the Rangers. He walked seven against the Athletics on Sept. 14, 2007, then was shut down the rest of the season with forearm soreness. The Rangers don't think Gabbard's control problems Friday night were related to any physical issues. "I questioned him about it last night and he gave me an unequivocable positive answer," pitching coach Mark Connor said. "It was very uncharacteristic of him, but he's had six starts, and four have been quality. Last night was non-quality, but we'll get him back out there in five days. I have a lot of confidence in Gabby, I've never seen him struggle to find the strike zone. He was down with his sinker and getting behind guys. It wasn't pretty." Connor said when Gabbard was ailing last year, he had trouble throwing his fastball. That wasn't the case on Friday. "He had no problems throwing his fastball," Connor said. "His velocity was fine and his movement was good. His location was a problem. It was just one of those nights." In other Rangers pitching news: Luis Mendoza, sidelined because of both shoulder soreness and a finger blister, is being assigned to Triple-A Oklahoma and is scheduled to start there Monday. He'll be limited to three innings and 45 pitches and will likely need at least three to four starts before he can even be considered as an option at the Major League level. John Rheinecker, who is out until the All-Star break after being affected by thoracic outlet syndrome on his shoulder in Spring Training, had cleanup surgery on his shoulder Saturday. The surgery was considered minor, with no major problems found. He remains targeted to return after the All-Star break. Brandon McCarthy, also out until the All-Star break because of severe inflammation, has been cleared to start throwing again. The Rangers have released pitcher John Patterson, whose sore right arm is expected to sideline him the rest of the season.
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.