05/05/2013 8:11 PM ET
Nathan shakes off rust after long layoff
By Jim Reeves / Special to MLB.com
ARLINGTON -- Joe Nathan had gone eight days without work out of the Rangers' bullpen before Saturday.
The stretch was a product of the Texas bullpen logging only 6 2/3 innings in the first four games of May and the fact that there were no save opportunities in their three wins over a seven-game span since Nathan's last appearance in Minnesota on April 26.
Nathan finally got in for the ninth inning of the Rangers' 5-1 victory over Boston on Saturday, putting all three hitters he faced down in order.
"It's a start," Nathan said before Sunday's series finale with the Red Sox, noting that the appearance at least allowed him to knock off a little of the accumulated rust.
At 38, Nathan said he doesn't much like sitting around that long. Makes him grouchy.
"I hate having this many days off. People think you're going to be fresh," he said. "It's actually just the opposite."
Nathan had hoped to get in the game Friday night, when the Rangers won 7-0, but manager Ron Washington elected to get long man Derek Lowe an inning, instead. Lowe had gone nine days without an appearance.
"[Nathan's] a pro," Washington said.
Feeling better, Murphy pinch-hits in finale
ARLINGTON -- David Murphy, who spent Saturday night at home trying to recuperate from a ravaging stomach virus, insisted he could have played in the Rangers' 5-1 win over the Red Sox.
A day later, he followed through on his pledge, coming up with a pinch-hit single in the Rangers' 4-3 win over the Red Sox on Sunday. Despite the admirable effort, he was still clearly not 100 percent.
Playing it safe after Murphy came down with the 24-hour virus in the wee hours of Saturday morning, the Rangers had Murphy wait until the game began to come to the ballpark for treatment, then sent him straight back home to keep him away from the other players.
Murphy said he was so dehydrated, he was given three units of fluids.
"My stomach is back," he said. "It's my energy level that's still suffering. I definitely feel better than I did, though."
Murphy said he was at his worst for about a three-hour stretch between 3 and 6 a.m. Saturday.
"It might be a day or two before I'm completely back to normal," he said. "I tried to play through one of these things in Anaheim last year and almost threw up on the way to the plate."
Rangers not buying into Buchholz accusations
ARLINGTON -- The Rangers didn't get a chance to see the American League's Pitcher of the Month for April, Boston's Clay Buchholz, during the three-game weekend series that concluded Sunday at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington. But if they had, it's highly doubtful they would have ramped up the controversy over whether the young right-hander has been adding something illegal to his pitches.
Two Toronto announcers, both former players, accused Buchholz, who has started the season 6-0 with a 1.01 ERA, of cheating in his last start against the Blue Jays. No complaints came from the Blue Jays players.
"It's not something I would get wrapped up in anyway," Rangers manager Ron Washington said. "I think it's just a distraction, and it's not something I want my players focusing on."
Besides, as closer Joe Nathan pointed out, how is any pitcher going to get away with cheating in today's baseball world?
"There is so much technology in the game, so many cameras and camera angles -- if you're doing it, you're going to get caught," the Rangers closer said. "When someone has success like he has, someone else has to try figure out a reason for it. He must be doing something."
The fact is, Nathan said, Buchholz is probably not doing much different at all, except for getting big outs when he needs them.
"All he can do is keep doing what he's doing," Nathan said. "All anyone else can do is keep the cameras on him and try to catch him if he's doing something [against the rules]."
Buchholz said he's done nothing but apply some rosin to his sleeve.
"Rosin's on the mound," Rangers pitching coach Mike Maddux said. "You can put it anywhere but your glove. Believe me, if it was a problem, players would say something."
Berkman likely to be rested for upcoming games
ARLINGTON -- With the Rangers' next three games being played in National League parks -- a makeup game in Chicago on Monday, followed by a two-game set in Milwaukee -- manager Ron Washington said he will use that opportunity to let designated hitter Lance Berkman rest his legs.
"I'm the manager, so I have the right to change my mind -- don't put it in stone, but as of right now, he'll just be a pinch-hitter off the bench and it'll give him an opportunity to catch up," Washington said. "We'll give him a break. It's only three games."
Berkman, who entered Sunday hitting .302 with two homers and 15 RBIs, twice had surgery on his right knee in St. Louis last season, and it continues to hamper him from time to time.
The fact that first baseman Mitch Moreland has caught fire of late also gives Washington the luxury of resting Berkman.
Moreland, who had three hits Saturday night and a homer in his first at-bat on Sunday, has hit safely in 11 of his last 14 games, with two homers, six doubles and seven RBIs in that span.
• Managers often like to give their regular catchers the day off when the team is playing a day game after a night game. Most catchers aren't like A.J. Pierzynski, though.
"Pierzynski's stubborn," Washington said. "He wanted to play [Sunday], so he's playing. I'll get [Geovany] Soto some games on the road. I might have gotten punched out if I'd told A.J. he wasn't playing."
• The Rangers' departure for Chicago and the start of a four-city road trip will be delayed Sunday night while they take part in their annual Park Place Dealerships Triple Play Game Show at the Hilton Anatole in Dallas. It's the Rangers' Baseball Foundation's largest fundraiser of the year.
• The second-inning home run belted by Red Sox catcher David Ross over the left-field foul pole Sunday landed in the third row of the Club Level seats and traveled an estimated 410 feet. It's only the 18th home run hit into the Club Level, and Ross is just the fourth opposing hitter to accomplish the feat, joining Oakland's Mark McGwire (1997), Tampa Bay's Evan Longoria (2008) and the Angels' Mark Trumbo (2012).
Jim Reeves is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.