09/24/10 10:04 PM ET
Hamilton forced to sit while Texas struggles
By T.R. Sullivan / MLB.com
Francisco encouraged by progress
OAKLAND -- Rangers reliever Frank Francisco, who has been sidelined with a strained muscle in his right ribcage, had an extended session of long toss before Friday's game and was encouraged by how he felt.Long toss, which can be anywhere from 90 to 150 feet in length, is a good test of arm strength and usually the last test before throwing off the mound again. Francisco would like at least one or two more long-toss sessions before he gets back on the mound. "I just have to build my arm up a little more and get it a little more strong," Francisco said. It's still going be tight, as far as getting ready for the playoffs, but Francisco thinks he has enough time. "I believe I am going to be there," Francisco said. "Maybe the playoffs, maybe the last few games of the season."
Entering Friday, the Rangers had gone three consecutive games without scoring an earned run. That is the first time that's happened in club history. The last earned run was a home run by Chris Davis in the eighth inning on Monday. ... Dallas Braden came within one inning of being the fifth pitcher to throw back-to-back shutouts against the Rangers. The last to do it was Bert Blyleven in 1985. The others were Vida Blue (1972), Jim Hunter (1975) and Paul Hartzell (1976). ... The Rangers' bullpen ERA of 3.22 is the fifth-lowest in club history. The record is a 2.91 ERA by the 1981 unit.
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields and follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.