04/14/2013 4:20 PM ET
Former Cub Soto set to make Wrigley return
By T.R. Sullivan / MLB.com
SEATTLE -- The Rangers are bound for Chicago after Sunday's series finale in Seattle and catcher Geovany Soto is going back to his old home park. Soto will be making his first appearance at Wrigley Field since the Cubs traded him to the Rangers on July 30.
The Rangers open a three-game Interleague series against the Cubs on Tuesday at Wrigley Field.
"It will be fun," Soto said. "I have a lot of great memories in Chicago."
There is still no guarantee that Soto will play in any of the three games. He started for the Rangers on Sunday against the Mariners, but it was just his third start in 13 games. A.J. Pierzynski is not only the Rangers' everyday catcher, but one of their hottest hitters at the moment. Manager Ron Washington is reluctant to take him out of the lineup.
Soto, who was once the Cubs' everyday catcher, has come to accept his backup role with the Rangers.
"It doesn't matter to me. ... I'm still playing today," Soto said before Sunday's game. "It is what it is. I feel good about myself. I have no regrets. We have a great team here and we're winning ballgames. That's all that matters."
Soto was an 11th-round Draft pick by the Cubs in 2001 out of Puerto Rico and was the National League's Rookie of the Year in 2008 when he hit .285 with 23 home runs and 86 RBIs. But a series of injuries reduced his effectiveness and the Cubs traded him to the Rangers last season.
"My time in Chicago was still wonderful," Soto said. "A lot of great memories and the fans were awesome. It's part of the game to be traded, but I can definitely say my experience in Chicago was really neat."
Andrus rewards Ortiz with shopping spree
SEATTLE -- Rangers reliever Joe Ortiz earned his first Major League victory on Thursday when he threw two scoreless innings in a 4-3 win over the Mariners. As a reward, shortstop Elvis Andrus took him shopping the next day and bought him a suit.
"He said he would buy me a suit after my first Major League victory," Ortiz said. "There is a shopping mall near the hotel, so he took me there and got me a nice gift."
Actually, Andrus bought him two suits. Apparently, Ortiz felt he owed Andrus for the second suit, so he pitched two more scoreless innings on Saturday to get his second big league win as the Rangers beat the Mariners, 3-1.
That's two wins while pitching two scoreless innings each time in the first 12 games of the season. The only other two Rangers pitchers to accomplish that feat were Jim Kern in 1979 and Paul Lindblad in '72. Ortiz is 2-0 with a 1.04 ERA in five games.
"He throws strikes and attacks hitters," pitching coach Mike Maddux said. "He throws three pitches for strikes in any count. He personifies being on the attack. Everybody liked what he brought in Spring Training and he has carried it over into the season. He has been the same guy since Day 1 of Spring Training. He hasn't backed away from anybody or anything."
Most of the Rangers' relievers are power pitchers with big arms. Ortiz relies more on getting the ground ball, which he has done 63 percent of the time so far. That's the highest ratio among Rangers relievers.
"The most important thing is to induce ground balls and to do that, I have to attack down in the zone," Ortiz said. "That way, I don't throw many pitches and I don't get fly balls."
Harrison receives second anti-inflammatory shot
SEATTLE -- Matt Harrison, who is on the disabled list with an inflamed nerve in his lower back, received a second anti-inflammatory injection on Saturday. Harrison, who last pitched on April 6 in an 8-4 loss to the Angels, has still not resumed throwing.
Harrison, who started on Opening Night, is not traveling with the Rangers, but remains in Texas getting his treatment. He is eligible to come off the disabled list on April 22, but that may not be realistic given the second injection. Harrison will likely need multiple mound sessions and possibly a medical rehabilitation start in the Minors to rebuild arm strength before he is ready to return to the rotation.
"It's frustrating," Harrison said in a text message. "The first shot didn't work as well as planned, and I got another one yesterday. Hopefully, it works."
The Rangers called up Justin Grimm to take Harrison's spot in the rotation and he allowed two runs in four innings in a start against the Mariners on Thursday. He is scheduled to pitch again on Wednesday against the Cubs at Wrigley Field.
Both of the Rangers' starting pitchers on Opening Day the past two years are on the disabled list. Colby Lewis, who had surgery to repair a torn flexor tendon on July 27, is still in Arizona on a throwing program. He is currently throwing batting practice and the next step is to pitch in an extended spring training game. The Rangers have not announced when that will be.
Garcia makes second straight start
SEATTLE -- Infielder Leury Garcia was in the lineup for a second straight game on Sunday, one day after he played an instrumental role in the Rangers' 3-1 victory over the Mariners. Garcia started at second base as Ian Kinsler got his first day off.
"This was already planned," manager Ron Washington said. "He already knew he was going to play back-to-back games."
Garcia was 1-for-2 with a walk in Saturday's game. His eighth-inning grounder on a hit-and-run play moved Craig Gentry into scoring position during a two-run rally and he made six plays at shortstop while filling in for Elvis Andrus.
"I didn't know how he was going to react," Washington said. "I know he didn't show any [signs] of being afraid in Spring Training, but this is not Spring Training. We tried to make him understand to relax, have fun and just go play. I'm happy that I can send him out there and trust him."
The hit-and-run play came in the eighth after Gentry led off with a walk against Mariners pitcher Carter Capps. Garcia turned on the first pitch to bunt and took it for a ball. Then, Washington decided to change the plan.
Washington decided to have Gentry try a straight steal, which meant Garcia would have to take the next pitch. Instead, Washington admitted he inadvertently gave the wrong signal. He put on the hit-and-run and Garcia hit a chopper over the mound. He was thrown out at first, but Gentry was still at second and later scored.
Washington said getting his signals crossed was a first for him.
"I guess when you try to do the right thing, mentally, the baseball gods still bless you," Washington said.
• The Rangers won on Saturday night without an extra-base hit, something that happened just twice last season.
• The Rangers went into Sunday's game as the only team in the Majors that hasn't scored at least four runs in an inning once this season.
• Class A Hickory infielder Joey Gallo has three home runs in his last six games going into Sunday.
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.