05/30/11 11:47 PM ET
Andrus spiked in foot, out of lineup Tuesday
By T.R. Sullivan / MLB.com
Murphy could be a hot trade commodity
ST. PETERSBURG -- The offensive production from left fielders has dropped dramatically in the Major Leagues this season.Major League left fielders went in to Memorial Day with a combined .713 OPS (on-base plus slugging percentage), the lowest from that position in the past 30 years. The second worst was .731 in 1992. That would suggest there is a great need for offensive left fielders in baseball and, with Josh Hamilton back off the disabled list, the Rangers have David Murphy as their fourth outfielder. The league-wide numbers suggest there are plenty of teams that could use Murphy. "It's hard to think about numbers right now because I'm struggling," Murphy said. "You don't even want to think about numbers, you just want to go out and play well. You don't need to look at the scoreboard. You get a feel if you are hitting the ball well or not. The numbers will take care of themselves." Murphy has been part of the problem as far as lack of production from left fielders. He went into Monday's game with a .599 OPS as a left fielder and his overall OPS of .618 was the eighth lowest among all qualifying outfielders in the Major Leagues. Overall, he was hitting .225 with four home runs and 14 RBI. Last season he was hitting .253 with two home runs and 15 RBIs in 123 at-bats through May. His OPS was .667. He ended up hitting .291 with 12 home runs and 65 RBIs and an .806 OPS that was 24th best out of 71 Major League outfielders. "I just need to focus on getting right," Murphy said.
Harrison hopeful for next start
ST. PETERSBURG -- Matt Harrison postponed a scheduled between-starts bullpen session on Monday because of a blister on the index finger of his pitching hand. But the Rangers left-hander is still hopeful he'll be able to make his next start on Thursday against the Indians."They shaved the skin off yesterday and I filed it down today," Harrison said. "It should be fine." Harrison left Saturday's game after six scoreless innings when he developed the blister. Harrison thought the blister was caused by touching the bill of his sweat-soaked cap too many times during the game and rubbing the finger against a seam. "It wasn't a real deep blister. It shouldn't take too long to heal up." Harrison said. "Normally I don't get blisters. The last time was in 2006 in Double-A with the Braves and I didn't miss a start. I had one in A ball at Myrtle Beach and missed one start." Harrison, after Saturday's 10-1 win over the Braves, is now 5-4 with a 3.26 ERA, 22nd best in the American League. Opponents are hitting .229 off him, 14th lowest in the league.
Rangers try to get straight on the road
ST. PETERSBURG -- The Rangers went into Memorial Day with a 9-14 record on a road and a .391 winning percentage that was the third worst in the American League. That's an ominous number for a team that will play 17 of its next 20 games on the road beginning with Monday's against the Rays."We haven't been very good on the road," manager Ron Washington said. "We've just got to go out and win. We can win anywhere. If I had an idea of what it is, I'd fix it." Hitting would seem to be one problem. The Rangers went into Monday's game hitting .239 on the road, the fourth lowest in the league. Their .333 slugging percentage was the lowest. At home they are hitting .272, second highest in the league. Their .494 slugging percentage is the highest for any AL team in its home ballpark. On the pitching side, the Rangers went into Monday's game with a 2.81 road ERA, the lowest in the AL. They had a 2.16 ERA in their previous nine road games but were still 4-5 in those games. But Washington said it all can't be blamed on the offense. "If you want to go that route, there are at least seven games that I can remember where we had a one- or two-run lead going into the eighth or ninth innings and couldn't close it out," Washington said. "I wish we could have scored more runs, but when you have a chance to win with a one-, two- or three-run lead, you've got to close that door. The offense has struggled at times, but they still put us in a position to win the ballgame. "Our offense hasn't been as consistent as we'd like it to be, but we're getting back to full strength. There should be a change in that."
Notable achievements from Sunday's win
ST. PETERSBURG -- The Rangers won on Sunday only after overcoming two late-inning leads by the Royals. They trailed by 5-3 in the eighth before Michael Young hit a two-run homer. They trailed by 6-5 in the ninth, but Nelson Cruz hit a game-tying home run and Mike Napoli scored from first on a hit-and-run single by Elvis Andrus.Some facts about that: The Rangers won for the first time this season despite trailing after six and seven complete innings. They are still 0-18 when trailing after eight innings. The Rangers became the second Major League team this season to hit multiple game-tying home runs in the eighth inning or later. Napoli and Cruz both hit home runs in the game. The Rangers have had six games this season where Cruz and Napoli both hit home runs. The Rangers are 6-0 in those games. Sunday was the Rangers first walkoff victory of the season. They had 11 last season.
Second baseman Ian Kinsler was given the night off on Monday against the Rays. It was his first day off since May 2. He'll likely start at designated hitter on Tuesday, giving Young two straight starts at second base. Julio Borbon, on the disabled list with a strained left hamstring, began a medical rehabilitation assignment at Double-A Frisco on Monday. He will be there at least a week. The Rangers don't plan on activating him until after they return from this road trip.
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.