07/09/12 2:30 AM ET
Rangers align post-break starting rotation
By Christian Corona / MLB.com
Kirkman leaves game with mild left groin strain
ARLINGTON -- Michael Kirkman left the Rangers' series finale against the Twins on Sunday in the 10th inning with a mild left quad strain after facing just two batters.Joe Mauer hit a soft ground ball to Kirkman, who backhanded it cleanly and sprinted to first base to record the first out of the 10th inning. After the play, team trainer Jamie Reed visited Kirkman, who exited the game after throwing only 13 pitches. Kirkman replaced Joe Nathan, who gave up two unearned runs in the ninth, and ended the inning by getting Ben Revere to fly out to center field. Kirkman was replaced on the mound by Yoshinori Tateyama, who issued a two-out walk to Justin Morneau but got Ryan Doumit to strike out swinging to end the inning. He tossed 1 2/3 innings of scoreless relief. The Rangers' bullpen, after pitching four scoreless innings in Saturday's win, threw 7 1/3 innings in Sunday's 4-3, 13-inning victory. "Oswalt did a great job," manager Ron Washington said. "[The bullpen] just came in and kept us around. We might have extended Joe a little more than we would have wanted to. The guys picked him up and we just kept battling and got it done." With the Rangers having already used Tanner Scheppers, Robbie Ross, Mike Adams, and Nathan, Tateyama was the only reliever available at the time. Scott Feldman, who has bounced back and forth between the rotation and bullpen, threw 101 pitches in a start against the White Sox Wednesday and became the Rangers' eighth pitcher -- a season high - when he tossed scoreless 12th and 13th innings. "In a situation like that, that's what we talked about before the game, [pitching in] extra innings or something like that," Feldman said. "I probably could have thrown 100 pitches. If it was either that or a position player throwing, I mean [Craig] Gentry's got a pretty good arm, but I probably would have kept running out there." Washington said earlier this week that someone like All-Star Matt Harrison, who started Thursday against the White Sox, might be available in an emergency situation. But it was fellow All-Star Yu Darvish, who had not pitched since a July 1 loss to Oakland, that would have been the next Rangers pitcher if Feldman was pulled. "Once again, the bullpen was outstanding," Washington said. "We were going to Darvish. You saw him in that bullpen. We were going to go to Darvish if we had to." The Rangers currently have five pitchers on the disabled list -- Colby Lewis (forearm tightness), Neftali Feliz (elbow inflammation), Alexi Ogando (strained groin), Koji Uehara (strained lat), and Mark Lowe (strained intercostal muscle).
Feliz, Ogando nearing rehab assignments
ARLINGTON -- Neftali Feliz and Alexi Ogando, two of the five Rangers pitchers currently on the disabled list, will have bullpen sessions Monday at the club's facility in the Dominican Republic before beginning rehab assignments this week.Ogando, who has been on the DL since June 12 with a strained right groin, will likely make a rehab outing with Triple-A Round Rock on Thursday. He could make another appearance with Round Rock on Saturday and return to the team in Oakland next week. Ogando threw 51 pitches in a bullpen session on Saturday. Feliz, who is on the 60-day DL with right elbow inflammation, could make a rehab start next weekend. Feliz, who went 3-1 with a 3.16 ERA in seven starts before being placed on the DL on May 21, threw 47 pitches in a bullpen session Saturday. Feliz is likely to return by the end of July, but it is unclear if he will come back to the rotation or go to the bullpen, where he served as the Rangers' closer each of the past two seasons. "We're talking about the end of July going into August," manager Ron Washington said. "He'll get stretched out and when he's ready to go, we'll have a decision to make and we'll make whatever decision we have to make. We'll keep our options open." Feliz and Koji Uehara (strained right lat), who threw 43 pitches in a bullpen session Sunday, are scheduled to throw live batting practice Thursday, when Mark Lowe (strained intercostal muscle) should also begin a throwing program. Uehara and Lowe could both go on rehab assignments but nothing has been planned yet. "[Uehara's] plan is to throw some live BP on Thursday, let him see some hitters and see how that goes," Washington said. "That's a very sensitive area where he's hurt. We have to make sure that thing is together well."
Ross could be late All-Star replacement
ARLINGTON -- After another solid outing by his rookie reliever, manager Ron Washington acknowledged that Robbie Ross would be a candidate to replace an injured All-Star if the opportunity presented itself."It certainly would be hard not to think about it," Washington said. "He certainly has done a great job for us. He really has. He's got so much poise. He just comes in and keeps pounding the strike zone and keeps them swinging the bat. If there is a consideration, I would have to think about it."
The Rangers already have eight players going to the All-Star Game, including three pitchers in Matt Harrison, Yu Darvish, and Joe Nathan. But Ross, who tossed 1 1/3 innings of scoreless relief in the Rangers' 4-3 win over the Twins on Saturday, could join them if a current American League All-Star pitcher couldn't play Tuesday.Ross, who has pitched 22 1/3 straight scoreless innings and has not allowed an earned run in his last 29 2/3 innings, is 6-0 with a 0.96 ERA in 33 relief outings this year. A starter in high Class A Myrtle Beach and Double-A Frisco last season, Ross has made the transition to the bullpen nicely. His six wins lead all relievers and his 0.96 ERA would be the 10th-lowest in AL history at the All-Star break. "It's been great," Ross said. "It's a different workload. This year, it's been day to day where I could possibly throw every day, whereas when you're a starter, it's five days off. This year, I didn't throw nearly as many innings as I did last year. I think the way the Rangers brought me through it has been great." The 83rd Major League Baseball All-Star Game will be televised nationally by FOX Sports, in Canada by Rogers Sportsnet and RDS, and worldwide by partners in more than 200 countries via MLB International's independent feed. Pregame ceremonies begin at 6:30 p.m. CT. ESPN Radio and ESPN Radio Deportes will provide exclusive national radio coverage. MLB Network, MLB.com and Sirius XM also will provide comprehensive All-Star Game coverage.
Fans will also have the opportunity to participate in the official voting for the Ted Williams Most Valuable Player presented by Chevrolet via the 2012 MLB.com All-Star Game MVP Vote during the All-Star Game on MLB.com.
New-look lineup remains for series finale
ARLINGTON -- Unlike Saturday, Ron Washington did not make any changes to his lineup for Sunday's first-half finale against the Twins.On Saturday, Washington switched Michael Young and Nelson Cruz, putting Cruz in the fifth spot and having Young bat sixth. Cruz went 3-for-5 with a pair of doubles, including a walk-off two-bagger in the 10th inning. Cruz has the team's only two hits with runners in scoring position this series and is batting .364 in his last nine games, while Young is hitting .200 over his last 25. "It can carry over but there's no predicting this game," Washington said. "You still have to go out there and play. It can carry over. You just have to go out there and get it done. We got a win so we're feeling better. It'll be nice if we get one today." For the second straight day, Josh Hamilton, who left Friday's game with back spasms, was the Rangers' designated hitter and batted third. Hamilton, who will start in left field in the All-Star Game on Tuesday, hit his 27th home run on Saturday, tying him with Jose Bautista for the Major League lead. Craig Gentry also stayed in the lineup against a right-handed starting pitcher, starting in center field and batting ninth. "It's automatic, he's going to DH," Washington said. "I just want to give him two days and make sure nothing's wrong with that big man. I just want to make sure he can play when Tuesday's over. The treatment did him some good." Gentry, who is batting .413 in his last 26 games, is hitting .323 against righties this season and .351 with runners in scoring position. His .343 batting average is the highest in the American League among players with at least 125 at-bats. "We, as a group, haven't been doing very much offensively so I'm riding his hot hand," Washington said. "He's learning how to use his skills. I've played him against lefties and he's flourished. He's gotten some opportunities against righties and he's got it done. I think the way we've played him has helped develop into what he is. Give him credit because he's thriving."
Double-A prospect Jurickson Profar homered to right field in his first at-bat at the SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game in Kansas City on Sunday. Profar, playing in his second straight Futures Game started for the World team, while teammate Mike Olt started for the U.S. team at third base. Minnesota's Joe Mauer and the Rangers' Mike Napoli each drew three walks in the Rangers' win over the Twins Saturday night. Mauer leads the Majors with four three-walk games this season while Napoli, who has done it three times, is tied for second with Adam Dunn of the White Sox and Mark Teixeira of the Yankees. Lewis Brinson, the Rangers' first-round pick in this year's First-Year Player Draft (No. 29 overall) homered for the second straight game in the Arizona Rangers' 16-12 loss Saturday after not homering in his first 12. He's batting .302 with 16 RBIs in 14 games with the rookie club. Edwin Garcia was promoted from low Class A Hickory to high Class A Myrtle Beach on Saturday, while fellow Hickory infielder Luis Sardinas was placed on the disabled list.
Christian Corona is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.