04/24/2013 9:35 PM ET
Murphy gets rare start against southpaw
By T.R. Sullivan / MLB.com
ANAHEIM -- David Murphy was back in the Rangers' lineup on Wednesday with a left-hander on the mound for the Angels. But he was also batting eighth behind Craig Gentry. Manager Ron Washington said he wanted Gentry's right-handed bat between his left-handed hitters. Washington had A.J. Pierzynski batting sixth and Mitch Moreland ninth.
"I'm just trying to break up my left-handed hitters, that's all that is," Washington said.
Murphy was out of the lineup on Tuesday with left-hander Jason Vargas on the mound for the Angels. But he had to enter the game in the first inning after Jeff Baker banged his knee against the wall making a sliding catch. Murphy ended up going 1-for-4 on the night with a single off of Vargas in the sixth. He also grounded into a double play against left-handed reliever Scott Downs in the eighth, although a run scored on the play.
"I feel better against left-handers than I do against right-handers. ... It's more of a simple approach," Murphy said. "Last night I missed a few pitches I could have hit, but I made an adjustment late in the game and had some good at-bats. Even the double-play ball, I hit it really well, I just hit it right at the guy. Downs is as tough of a left-hander as there is coming into the game like that, with his stuff and movement."
Murphy went into Thursday's game hitting .194 for the season, including 5-for-22 (.227) against left-handers. Last year he batted .347 against them. The Rangers are scheduled to face left-handers Scott Diamond and Pedro Hernandez on Friday and Saturday against the Twins. The Rangers are unsure if Baker will be back in the lineup, but he can play other positions as well.
Weather should cooperate during trip to Minnesota
ANAHEIM -- The Rangers could miss the worst of the Midwest weather during their four-game series with the Twins in Minneapolis. The Twins have had three home games postponed this month because of rain and snow, but the weather is supposed to warm up this weekend.
Thursday is likely to be the coldest day of the series. The forecast calls for a high of 53, so it will probably dip below 50 by first pitch. The high on Friday is 71 with a low of 47. The Rangers play a night game on Friday but then two day games on Saturday and Sunday. The forecast for both days is for sunshine with a high of 74 on Saturday and 78 on Sunday.
The weather will be something manager Ron Washington has to consider when deciding whether to play Lance Berkman, who is still dealing with a right knee that was operated on twice last year. Washington did not use Berkman in the cold weather last week against the Cubs in Chicago although there was no designated hitter used in the National League park. The DH will be used this weekend, but that doesn't mean Berkman will be in the lineup all four days.
"It will depend on the weather," Washington said. "If the weather isn't good, I'll have to think about it. If the weather is nice, he'll play."
The Rangers also weren't looking forward to the travel. The Rangers played a night game against the Angels on Wednesday and weren't expecting their charter to leave Los Angeles International Airport until after midnight. With the two-hour time change flying back east, the Rangers were looking at a dawn arrival in Minneapolis without an off-day there.
"You just try to catch a nap on the plane," Washington said. "It's a tough trip with the time change but what are you going to do? It's the schedule, you have to play it. You get in, sleep as long as you can, get up, go to the ballpark and play baseball."
Baker is day to day with bruised knee
ANAHEIM -- The Angels started left-hander Michael Roth against the Rangers, but Jeff Baker was out of the lineup with a bruised right knee. Baker, the Rangers' right-handed-hitting utility player, has been playing against left-handed pitching but is still dealing with some swelling.
Baker had X-rays taken on Wednesday, and they were negative, meaning no structural damage. The Rangers see no need to put him on the disabled list and expect him to be able to play sometime this weekend during their four-game series with the Twins.
"It feels better," Baker said. "It's still a little stiff and swollen up. But once the swelling goes down and if I can get it to where it doesn't affect me or my swing, I should be out there soon."
Baker injured the knee making a terrific sliding catch down the left-field line in the first inning of Tuesday's game against the Angels. Baker made the catch in fair territory and then slid hard against the wall, catching the knee in the small opening between the warning track and the padding on the wall.
"I was a little concerned last night because it stiffened up quickly," Baker said. "But it's just bruised."
The catch was ranked No. 9 on SportsCenter's top 10 plays of the day.
"That's nice," Baker said. "I was wondering why I got so many text messages on my phone. But I would have rather stayed in the game."
He had to come out of the game but received a nice ovation from the fans at Angel Stadium.
"That was actually cool," Baker said. "It's cool when the crowd appreciates that you play hard. On the road they're not cheering for you but when they see you play hard and give a good effort, it's nice they appreciate it."
Rangers-Cubs makeup game set for May 6
ANAHEIM -- Major League Baseball announced Wednesday the Rangers-Cubs game that was postponed on April 17 at Wrigley Field will be made up on May 6. The game-time is 7:05 p.m. CT in Chicago.
That adds to one of the Rangers' longer road trips of the season. They play at Milwaukee on May 7-8 and then, after a day off, face the Astros on May 10-12 in Houston. The trip concludes with a three-game series with the Athletics on May 13-15.
At that point, barring any more postponements, the Rangers will have played 25 of their first 40 games on the road. They will also be starting a new stretch in which they will play 32 of 49 games at home.
•: The Rangers allowed two unearned runs in the first inning of Tuesday's 5-4 loss to the Angels. They had allowed just three unearned runs in their first 19 games. The Rangers and the Rays, going into Wednesday, are the only teams without a multiple-error game this season.
• Ian Kinsler was hit by a pitch in Tuesday's game. That's the 52nd time in his career. The club record is 54, held by Rafael Palmeiro. Juan Gonzalez was hit 53 times.
• Joe Ortiz took the loss on Tuesday when he allowed an 11th-inning home run to Howie Kendrick. It was the first loss by a Rangers reliever this season.
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.