05/16/2013 8:10 PM ET
Rangers' flight home takes detour to Albuquerque
By T.R. Sullivan / MLB.com
ARLINGTON -- The Rangers' chartered flight from Oakland to Dallas on Wednesday evening took an unexpected detour to Albuquerque, N.M., because of the terrible weather in North Texas. The club left Oakland at 7:30 p.m. CT and were expected to land at 10:30 p.m. at Dallas Love Field.
However, the charter was 150 miles east of Albuquerque when the bad weather forced them to turn around and land there. The Rangers spent 2 1/2 hours in Albuquerque before they were able to take off. They landed in Dallas at 1:30 a.m.
"It's nothing we haven't done before," outfielder David Murphy said. "We're used to it. We had a night game earlier this year in Los Angeles and flew to Minnesota. We've had worse, getting in at 5 or 6 in the morning."
The Rangers spent the time holding a "kangaroo court" and fining teammates for minor and contrived offenses. Elvis Andrus and Derek Holland were favorite victims.
"Basically we ragged on our teammates the whole time," Murphy said.
Mitch Moreland was watching a movie on his computer with his headphones on when the plane was diverted. When the plane landed in Albuquerque, he thought they were in Dallas and texted his wife Susannah that he was back home. She was the one who told him the Rangers were in Albuquerque. Moreland was one of the first offenders fined in kangaroo court.
"I got lost in the movie," Moreland said.
The Rangers normally send their next day's starting pitcher ahead so he gets plenty of rest. The Rangers did not send Yu Darvish back because they played a day game in Oakland. He flew on the charter with everybody else. The Tigers also had a day game on Wednesday and arrived in Texas around 8 p.m.
Pierzynski ready to begin rehab assignment
ARLINGTON -- Catcher A.J. Pierzynski, on the disabled list with a strained oblique muscle in his right rib cage, took batting practice on Thursday and should be ready to play for Double-A Frisco on Sunday. He may play for Frisco on Monday as well, but the Rangers are expecting to activate him on Tuesday, the first day he is eligible.
"I'm good to go. I wish I could play today," Pierzynski said.
The Rangers haven't finalized Pierzynski's plans for a rehab assignment, but there is no doubt that he'll be activated on Tuesday unless there is an unexpected setback.
"If I didn't play him when he was ready to play, it would be a miserable day for me," manager Ron Washington said. "I wouldn't be able to get him out of my office."
Geovany Soto has been catching regularly with Robinson Chirinos serving as a backup. The Rangers have won both games that Chirinos started and he'll get one more start before Pierzynski is activated.
"He's done great, he really has," Washington said. "He blocks balls well and has soft hands receiving the ball. He's done a good job and I'm certainly going to get him out there again."
Lindblom to start Monday's opener against A's
ARLINGTON -- The Rangers acquired Josh Lindblom from the Phillies this winter as a reliever, but when he did not make the team in Spring Training, the club sent him to Triple-A Round Rock to become a starter.
Lindblom has done well enough to merit a spot in the Rangers' rotation. Lindblom will replace Alexi Ogando, who was placed on the disabled list with right biceps tendinitis on Thursday, and start against Oakland on Monday.
Lindblom is 4-0 with a 2.08 ERA in seven starts and one relief appearance for Round Rock. In 43 1/3 innings, he has allowed 27 hits and 11 walks while striking out 33. He has the fifth lowest ERA in the Pacific Coast League and his 0.88 WHIP is the lowest in the league.
"He has thrown the ball extremely well," manager Ron Washington said. "He's using his stuff extremely well and his velocity is coming back."
The Rangers called up reliever Cory Burns on Thursday to help out in the bullpen for the Tigers series. Burns has a 1.38 ERA and eight saves for Round Rock. In 13 innings, he has allowed 12 hits and four walks while striking out 18.
"He has pitched extremely well," Washington said. "He's not overpowering, but he can spot the baseball and he's got an out pitch -- his changeup. We've got a few guys down there doing a good job. They've just got to wait their turn."
• Andrus had two steals in Wednesday's victory over the Athletics. It's the 19th time in his career he has had multiple steals in a game. The club record is 21 by Bump Wills.
• Andrus has 133 career steals, which ranks fourth in club history behind Wills (161), Ian Kinsler (160) and Toby Harrah (143). Kinsler has been one behind Wills since his last stolen base on April 27.
• Halfway through May, the Rangers have hit 23 home runs, the most in the Majors. The club record for the month is 46, set in 2005.
• Since the beginning of the 2009 season, Nelson Cruz has hit 23 home runs with at least two men on base. That's the second most behind 29 from Ryan Howard of the Phillies.
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.