09/15/12 8:09 PM ET
Uehara hits stride with four straight appearances
By Todd Wills / Special to MLB.com
"It's the best I've seen him since he's been with us," said Washington of the reliever acquired in a trade last season. "It's the best his splitter has been, the best his fastball has been. He's fresh, and he's always been a strike-thrower."
One thing that has helped Uehara throw four straight days is the fact that he's only needed 36 pitches, an average of nine per appearance, to get through three innings plus one batter.
"If he had an 18-pitch game during that stretch, we couldn't do that," Washington said.
Uehara was unlikely to pitch a fifth straight day on Saturday.
Darvish-Soto a terrific tandem for Texas
ARLINGTON -- Mike Napoli's return to the lineup on Saturday after a month away means a likely splitting up of the catching duties with Geovany Soto.
But there's one stipulation -- for now, Soto will catch the rolling Yu Darvish.
Darvish is 4-1 with a 2.32 ERA in his last six games, all of them with Soto behind the plate. Opposing hitters are batting .150 against him, and his walks are way down -- to 2.74 per nine innings.
Manager Ron Washington, who prefers not to pair certain pitchers with catchers, won't do anything to break up the Darvish-Soto duo.
"That one I'll let happen," Washington said. "They've been consistent and on the same page. [Soto's] had Darvish when he started getting his game together. Darvish has something to do with that, too. We'll keep that mojo going."
Washington added that if Soto ends up catching former Cubs teammate Ryan Dempster, it will be a coincidence.
Napoli, Ross activated on Saturday
ARLINGTON -- The Rangers welcomed catcher Mike Napoli and reliever Robbie Ross back to the active roster after both were given time off to freshen up and refocus for the stretch drive.
Napoli was in the lineup on Saturday after being out since Aug. 10 with a strained quad. He struck out four times in a rehab game for Double-A Frisco on Friday in the Texas League Championship Series but said before that game that he feels as healthy as he has all season.
Napoli also dealt with an ankle injury in Spring Training and has taken a beating behind the plate, as most catchers do.
"I told the guys, 'I left the strikeouts down there," said Napoli, who has struggled at the plate most of the season despite hitting 17 home runs. "It's been one of the toughest years. It's part of baseball. A lot of guys who get banged up go out there and get it done. It's part of the game."
Ross comes off the 15-day disabled list after taking time off with a strained left forearm. He threw 30 pitches in a bullpen session on Friday and probably won't be used except in an emergency until Sunday.
"It's a relief knowing I got 15 days off to get to work on some stuff," Ross said, "and get my mind ready for the rest of the season."
Profar gets another start at shortstop
ARLINGTON -- Rookie Jurickson Profar made his second start at shortstop on Saturday, with Elvis Andrus serving as the designated hitter.
It's Profar's first appearance during this homestand.
"I hope I get some ground balls," Profar said.
Profar entered Saturday with an extra-base hit and an RBI in each of his two starts, including a game-winning double last Saturday against Tampa Bay.
Flags at ballparks throughout the Majors were flown at half-staff this weekend in tribute to the four killed in Libya, including U.S Ambassador Chris Stevens.
Closer Joe Nathan is getting Saturday off because of his "dead arm," as is setup man Mike Adams, who is resting a tight trapezius muscle. Manager Ron Washington would like to give Adams the weekend off, but he could pitch on Sunday.
Catching instructor Hector Ortiz worked with Mike Napoli during rehab and will join the team in Anaheim on Monday after spending a few days in Arizona getting the Instructional League going.
Todd Wills is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.