5/20/2013 2:11 A.M. ET
Lindblom thriving in new role as starter
By Dave Sessions / Special to MLB.com
ARLINGTON -- After a disappointing spring as a reliever, the Rangers' Josh Lindblom has been working to reinvent himself as a starter at Triple-A Round Rock. He has been successful enough there to earn the opportunity to start Monday's game against Oakland.
Lindblom, 25, has thrown 100 2/3 innings in 101 games in the Major Leagues, including 23 1/3 innings in 26 games for Philadelphia last season, compiling a career 3.31 ERA. But he has never started a game in the Majors. He will be filling in for Alexi Ogando, who is on the disabled list.
The Rangers decided to make him a starter after he failed to make the club in the bullpen. The results: a 2.08 ERA and 4-0 record over seven starts in Triple-A. Lindblom said he appreciates the new chance as a starter.
"This is an organization that really wants to get the most out of every player they have and I'm thankful for that opportunity," Lindblom said. "It really is a testament to the development staff here. They believe in their players and they want to get the most out of their careers."
Lindblom said he has lost 10-15 pounds in an effort to increase his endurance. He's also working with four pitches now as a starter.
"Out of the bullpen, you really just kind of bring in a two-pitch mix, a fastball and an out pitch," Lindblom said. "I'm able to use the changeup, slider, curveball, use all of them and keep hitters off balance. I'm able to mix my pitches and use all my pitches and just kind of work my whole repertoire and not be limited as a pitcher."
Rangers proceeding with caution with injuries
ARLINGTON -- Injuries and subsequent trips to the disabled list continue to take their toll on the Rangers, but at least part of the reason their roster is so thin is because the Rangers are doing their best to keep players from making injuries worse at this early stage in the season.
Among the players who have been sent to the disabled list when they might have been back in a week or so are catcher A.J. Pierzynski, pitcher Alexi Ogando and second baseman Ian Kinsler.
"We just don't want to see something mushroom into a bigger issue," general manager Jon Daniels said. "We've had a number of injuries early on and it's critical we get those guys back. We'd rather be without them for two weeks in May than two months at the end of the summer."
Pierzynski (strained oblique muscle) is expected to return Tuesday after a rehab start at Double-A Frisco Sunday. Ogando (biceps soreness) will be eligible to return in early June and Kinsler (strained rib muscle) went to the DL on Sunday and is not expected to miss more than 15 days.
Murphy looking for positives while hitting second
ARLINGTON -- Rangers manager Ron Washington penciled left fielder David Murphy in the No. 2 spot in the batting order for the second consecutive night Sunday as Elvis Andrus shifted to the leadoff role in Ian Kinsler's absence.
"I'm going to try to keep [Murphy] there so he doesn't have to wait around to get at-bats and he can be involved in the game right away," Washington said. "Maybe that'll start getting him going."
Murphy has had a rough start to the season, hitting just .205 with a .261 on-base percentage. He has been better in May, hitting .268, but the left-hander has taken a large step back after a career year in 2012 when he hit .304 with 15 homers and 61 RBIs in 147 games.
Murphy did not hit second in any games last season, but he hopes the change will help.
"It's a change of scenery," Murphy said. "Sometimes it's just any little thing changing can be a good thing and jump-start you."
Murphy also said he knows he needs to improve to keep hitting high in the order much longer.
"There's not too many guys hitting right around .200 that are hitting second in many lineups in the big leagues," Murphy said. "I appreciate the faith but regardless of anything that's going on around me, I have to figure out what's going on within myself. … As a whole, my at-bats are getting better, but I'd like to see more good at-bats in each individual game than I'm having."
Murphy delivered a three-run homer in Sunday night's win and finished 2-for-3 with four RBIs.
• Daniels said pitcher Joakim Soria, who had elbow surgery last year and is also dealing with a strained pectoral muscle, is on track to return to the mound in early June and, if he continues to progress, could be ready to rejoin the Rangers in early July.
"He's progressing in his throwing program where he should be," Daniels said.
• Entering Sunday's game, reliever Derek Lowe hadn't pitched in a week, with his last outing an unimpressive inning on May 12 in which he allowed four earned runs to push his season ERA to 8.03. Washington said Lowe isn't dealing with any injury issues and hasn't seen action simply because he's the long man in the bullpen and situations haven't called for it, though the Rangers have had some large, late leads in the past week.
• Craig Gentry started in center field Sunday, his first start since May 12, even though the Rangers were facing Tigers right-handed pitcher Doug Fister and left-handed Leonys Martin often starts against righties. Martin has 86 at-bats in 36 games this season, while Gentry has 84 at-bats in 31 games.
"I can't keep sitting on him," Washington said of Gentry. "Whether it's a right-hander or a left-hander, he's got to keep getting at-bats."
Dave Sessions is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.