09/26/12 7:30 PM ET
Cruz donates fire truck
By T.R. Sullivan / MLB.com
Rangers target Sunday for Darvish's return
ARLINGTON -- The Rangers are hoping pitcher Yu Darvish will be ready to return to the rotation by Sunday against the Angels. Darvish was scratched from Tuesday's start against the A's with stiffness in his neck.Darvish reported to the Ballpark in Arlington early on Wednesday to get treatment and reported improvement in his neck. Darvish was unable to even throw a baseball on Tuesday but was able to play catch on Wednesday. "He's better today. ... It's day to day," manager Ron Washington said. "He's much better today, we'll see how he is after he gets treatment." The Rangers started rookie left-hander Martin Perez on Wednesday and Washington said there was no way Darvish would be able to bump him. Matt Harrison is scheduled to pitch on Thursday against the Athletics with Ryan Dempster and Derek Holland scheduled to pitch the first two games against the Angels. Washington said the Rangers might consider moving up Darvish before Sunday if he's completely recovered. If Darvish waits until Sunday, it would likely be his last start of the regular season, which ends next Wednesday. "He's got to be 100 percent," Washington said. "If he's 100 percent before Sunday, you might see him before Sunday."
Scheppers, Ogando better
ARLINGTON -- The Rangers lost to the Athletics on Tuesday, but there were still two positive developments inside the bullpen. Tanner Scheppers is healthy again and Alexi Ogando showed he had regained his effectiveness.Ogando pitched two scoreless innings, allowing one hit and no walks while striking out three. Ogando had a 7.71 ERA in his seven previous appearances while dealing with some soreness in his right bicep. Ogando was supposed to pitch just the eighth inning in a tie game. But with Joe Nathan and Mike Adams needing a night off, Ogando volunteered to pitch the ninth as well. "He kept his fastball down and threw a pretty good breaking ball," manager Ron Washington said. "When he gets in trouble is when he elevates his fastball in the zone. Last night, the fastball is down. It was certainly nice to see him give us multiple innings, which he usually does. He was fired up, especially after the first inning." Scheppers only faced one batter, needing seven pitches to get Brandon Moss to pop out to end the 10th inning. But it was his first appearance since suffering a bruised right knee in a home-plate collision against the Angels on Sept. 18. "I'm just happy to be out there again," Scheppers said. "Sitting around and watching is not fun. But everything felt great." Washington said he was reluctant to use Scheppers in a tight spot until he knew how the knee would respond. "He threw without issue, so I have no issues in using him," Washington said.
Rangers address baserunning
ARLINGTON -- The Rangers had two baserunners picked off in Tuesday's game. Officially, they went down as caught stealing, but the Rangers also lead the league with 14 baserunners picked off base. The Angels have had 10 picked off while no other American League team has more than five.Elvis Andrus was caught off first base in the sixth inning by Oakland starter Tommy Milone and Josh Hamilton was nailed by Sean Doolittle in the eighth. "We're out of rhythm on the basepaths," manager Ron Washington said. "We've certainly addressed it, but we're out of rhythm. Elvis wasn't going anywhere and he got picked off." Andrus claimed Milone balked, but Washington said, "I thought it was a good move." David Murphy did steal his eighth base on Tuesday. But the Rangers, going into Wednesday night, have just eight stolen bases in their last 41 games and have been caught 11 times. "Sometimes we get antsy and try to force things," Washington said. "We've got to do a better job of focusing. They want to run and aren't getting the opportunity to run. Right now we're out of rhythm but we're not going to stop trying."
The Rangers went into Wednesday with four errors in their last 19 games. They also have just 79 for the season. The club record for fewest errors in a full season is 87 set in 1996. Manager Ron Washington said Mike Adams is available out of the bullpen on Wednesday night. Adams pitched back-to-back games on Sunday and Monday after missing time last week because of tightness in the trapezium muscle in his right shoulder. Adams was given Tuesday off but Washington said it was not because the shoulder was bothering him again. The Rangers have seven players who have played in at least 140 games: Ian Kinsler, Elvis Andrus, Josh Hamilton, Adrian Beltre, Michael Young, Nelson Cruz and David Murphy. It's only the third time in club history seven players played in at least 140 games. It also happened in 1976 and 1999.
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.