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08/09/08 7:59 PM ET
Cautious Rangers to skip Hunter's spot
Club, watching young righty's innings count, will bypass him
By T.R. Sullivan / MLB.com
BALTIMORE -- The Rangers, after going back and forth on the subject, have decided to use Monday's off-day to skip Tommy Hunter in the rotation. "It's just that he's pitched a lot of innings," Rangers manager Ron Washington said. "From what I've heard, he's one of the top guys in the Minor Leagues and big leagues combined in innings pitched." Hunter was scheduled to start on Tuesday against the Red Sox. Instead, the Rangers will go with Scott Feldman, Luis Mendoza and Vicente Padilla in that three-game series. Hunter has tossed 153 1/3 innings in his first full professional season, making 22 starts in the Minors and two in the bigs. For comparison, only 18 players have thrown 153 or more Major League frames this year, and Padilla leads the Rangers with 133 innings entering Saturday's start. Hunter pitched 114 2/3 innings last season, split between the University of Alabama and Class A Spokane. "It's not my decision -- I just go out there when they give me the ball," Hunter said. "I feel fine. I feel I can go out there whenever they tell me to. It's part of the deal, I guess. They're concerned about innings; I guess I've got a lot of them. There's nothing to complain about. I'm at the place I want to be and the place I want to stay. It's just all about how you stay there." Hunter's turn in the rotation comes up next on Saturday, when the Rangers host the Rays. But that will be Kevin Millwood's spot, if he's ready to come off the disabled list. "If for some reason Millwood's not ready to go, we'll send him back out there," Washington said.
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.