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05/02/10 4:17 PM ET

Francisco regains stride after rough start

Closer unlikely to play Sunday after pitching in six of nine

SEATTLE -- Rangers manager Ron Washington was hoping to stay away from using Frank Francisco on Sunday. Francisco had appeared in six of the Rangers' last nine games, including the first two games in Seattle. His 12 appearances are the most on the team and tied for ninth in the American League.

Francisco had a win on Friday and a save on Saturday, and it has become obvious that he has regained Washington's trust as far as pitching in close situations. He has allowed just one run in his last nine innings.

"In the beginning of the season, I don't think I was ready," Francisco said. "Even when I started doing better, I don't think everything was better. But I kept working to find my rhythm, and now I'm hitting my spots better."

Looking at some video helped. Francisco studied tape from the past few years and found that his mechanics were out of whack. His back leg was "collapsing," and he was getting "under" his pitches. Basically now he's keeping the back leg firm, which allows him to drive "downhill" off the mound with more velocity and better location.

Hitting .175 on road, Vlad gets day off

SEATTLE -- Vladimir Guerrero was out of the lineup on Sunday for only the second time in 25 games this season.

Rangers manager Ron Washington told Guerrero on Saturday night that he would not be in the lineup on Sunday. Guerrero was 1-for-5 on Saturday and has one hit in his last 15 at-bats.

Guerrero is also hitting .175 on the road this season. Going into Sunday's games, that's the sixth-lowest road batting average in the American League. His .449 batting average at home is the highest in the league.

"It goes in and out," Washington said. "Sometimes they throw pitches that he doesn't miss, and sometimes they throw pitches he misses. Sometimes they throw pitches outside the strike zone that he hacks at, and sometimes they throw pitches outside the zone he doesn't hack at. It doesn't make a difference. I'm just giving him a day off."

Washington said Guerrero will still play right field on Monday against the Athletics with left-hander Dallas Braden on the mound.

Young looks to regain defensive rhythm

SEATTLE -- The Rangers' Michael Young had two errors on Saturday, his first multi-error game at third base and just the fifth of his career. The other four came at shortstop, and the last one was Sept. 18, 2007, in Minnesota.

He has four errors on the season, but has had some trouble lately bouncing his throws to first base. He had an errant throw on Friday night that was ruled a hit because it came off the bat of Seattle's Ichiro Suzuki.

But he also had a terrific play defensively on Saturday on a Suzuki bunt: charging hard, making a barehanded grab and firing to first for the out.

"Sometimes you lose your rhythm," Rangers manager Ron Washington said. "You can lose your rhythm defensively as well as you can lose it at the plate. But as soon as he catches a ball and makes a good throw, he'll be back."

O'Day ranks among league leaders

SEATTLE -- Darren O'Day is proving to be a good reliever for the Rangers if he can stay healthy. After a scoreless inning on Saturday, he went into Sunday's game as one of four relievers in the American League who had not given up an earned run in at least eight innings. The others were Mariano Rivera, Andrew Bailey and Sergio Santos.

Since the start of the 2009 season, O'Day's 1.62 ERA is the third lowest among Major League relievers with at least 50 innings pitched.

O'Day also went into Sunday's game averaging 12.9 pitches per inning this season. That's the lowest for any American League reliever.

Worth noting

Pitcher Colby Lewis was the Rangers' Player of the Month for April. He was 3-0 with a 2.76 ERA in five starts and led the American League with 38 strikeouts. ... Elvis Andrus, going into Sunday's game, is hitting .538 (7-for-13) with runners in scoring position. That's the highest in the Major Leagues for all players with at least 10 at-bats in those situations. ... Neftali Feliz turned 22 on Sunday.

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