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06/25/08 11:54 PM ET

Duran at third in Lone Star Series finale

Texas (40-39) at Houston (36-42), Thursday, 7:05 p.m. CT

German Duran will be back at third base on Thursday when the Rangers close out their three-game series with the Astros at Minute Maid Park.

This will be Duran's sixth start at third since he was recalled from Triple-A Oklahoma on June 8, as he has been platooning with Ramon Vazquez.

The Rangers still don't like the arrangement. They would prefer Duran be playing every day at Triple-A Oklahoma, rather than starting only when there is an opposing left-hander on the mound.

"For him to be the ballplayer we need him to be, he needs to play," manager Ron Washington said.

The alternative would be Travis Metcalf, but he missed Spring Training and the first month of the season due to surgery on his right hamstring muscle and is still trying to catch up. He is hitting .221 in 32 games at Oklahoma and .179 over his last 10 games.

Duran at least is looking more comfortable in his second time with the Rangers. He was called up on April 17 and hit .193 in 26 games. He was sent back on May 28, then recalled 11 days later. Since then, he is hitting .294 (5-for-17) with two home runs.

"I'm much more comfortable," Duran said. "I have a few more at-bats, and that's helped me relax. The first time I was up here I was putting too much pressure on myself. Now I just go out there and have good at-bats. I don't tell myself I have to get a hit, just play to the situation."

Pitching matchup
TEX: RHP Kevin Millwood (5-3, 4.61 ERA)
Millwood is 3-0 with a 4.22 ERA in five starts since coming off the disabled list on May 30. In the 32 innings since then, he has walked 10 and struck out 25. He is 1-3 with a 4.40 ERA in seven starts on the road as opposed to 4-0 with a 4.86 ERA at home. Left-handed hitters are batting just .262 off him while right-handers are hitting .342. He is 6-3 with a 3.48 ERA in 10 starts in his career vs. the Astros.

HOU: LHP Wandy Rodriguez (2-3, 2.81 ERA)
Rodriguez is 1-3 with a 3.21 ERA since coming off the disabled list on May 28. He was sidelined for five weeks with a strained groin muscle. He is 1-2 with a 2.10 ERA in five starts at Minute Maid Park this year and opponents are hitting .204 off him in his own park. He is 2-0 with a 4.76 ERA in his career against the Rangers.

The Rangers have promoted infielder Jose Vallejo and outfielder J.T. Restko from Class A Bakersfield to Double-A Frisco. ... Infielders Renny Osuna and Ian Gac were promoted from Class A Clinton to Bakersfield. ... Infielder Jacob Kaase has been promoted from low-A Spokane to Bakersfield.

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•  Gameday
•  Official game notes

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Up next
• Friday: Rangers (Kason Gabbard, 2-3, 4.96) vs. Phillies (Brett Myers, 3-9, 5.51), 7:05 p.m. CT
• Saturday: Rangers (Vicente Padilla, 10-3, 3.74) vs. Phillies (Cole Hamels, 7-5, 3.27), 7:05 p.m. CT
• Sunday: Rangers (Eric Hurley, 0-1, 4.24) vs. Phillies (Jamie Moyer, 7-4, 4.09), 5:05 p.m. CT

T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.