5/30/2013 7:36 P.M. ET
Tired grounds crew gets job done in time
By T.R. Sullivan and Master Tesfatsion / MLB.com
ARLINGTON -- The Rangers' grounds crew didn't sleep much following Wednesday's postponed game against the D-backs.
"The guys are a little sore today, to say the least," said director of grounds Dennis Klein.
Klein said his crew was at Rangers Ballpark until 2 a.m. CT, trying to get the field in shape for Thursday's 1 p.m. game, which the Rangers won, 9-5, over the D-backs.
Klein said he's never seen anything like what happened Wednesday in seven years with the Rangers. A particularly severe thunderstorm rolled through around 5:45 p.m., as the D-backs' last batting-practice group was taking its cuts. The grounds crew had the tractor ready to wheel out the tarp, but winds from the south made the task difficult.
"We told the Diamondbacks it was going to rain, so they were finishing up their last group," Klein said. "Probably five minutes earlier and we would've had it.
"Next time I'm not going to be so nice to the visiting team, let's put it that way."
It took about 10 minutes to get the tarp on the infield. Without any sunlight, Klein said the game would've started at 2 a.m. given the muddy conditions on the third-base side.
"Once the wind started blowing, we were cooked," Klein said. "There was nothing we could do. You just hang on. The wind blew from the south, so it took everything from the north. The whole third-base side blew.
"Guys were scrapped up when we went to the back. Some went airborne and weren't smart enough to let go of the tarp. I was telling them to let go and not hang on."
Klein said the infield was left uncovered overnight to let it dry. He came back at 5 a.m. to put the tarp on as rain hit the ballpark again at 7 a.m.
"We got it under control right now," Klein said. "Today is a blessing. Wind, sun … it's a blessing."
Nathan unsure if extra time off will be beneficial
ARLINGTON -- The Rangers' bullpen left Seattle on Sunday night with at least three pitchers unavailable for a Monday doubleheader against the D-backs, including closer Joe Nathan.
Now that Nathan has had three days off, he should be back at full strength, although he is not convinced that he needed the extra rest and that the time off will be beneficial.
"We'll find out," Nathan said Thursday morning before he sat out a fourth straight day due to no save situation in a 9-5 win over the D-backs. "Days off are what you are. Sometimes you feel worse and sometimes you feel better. I felt fine [Wednesday], I didn't feel any differently."
Nathan pitched in all three games in Seattle over the weekend. The Rangers weren't interested in pushing him to four days in a row, so they didn't get him up during Monday's doubleheader when a couple of potential save situations were looming. In both games, the Rangers had a chance to take the lead in the late innings. But in both cases, they weren't able to take a lead into the bottom of the ninth, so Nathan wasn't needed.
"The first day in Arizona, I went out and threw and felt fine," Nathan said. "Could I have pitched? Yes. Would they have let me pitch? That's a different story."
Nathan pitched in four straight games for the Rangers on May 15-18 last season. He threw four scoreless innings and did not allow a baserunner in the last three outings.
Nathan is 38, but he said that shouldn't matter when it comes to deciding if he pitches or not. He said it all depends on how many days in a row he pitches, how many pitches he throws and how stressful the situation.
"I'm not fragile," Nathan said. "I prepare myself. If everything checks out, I don't need extra care and I don't need to be coddled. I don't want to be used differently because of my age. There is no need to treat me any differently than any other player. If I'm going to play at this level, I have to be ready.
"I haven't felt too many effects or any different than when I was younger. It's a matter of how hard you take care of yourself."
Holland not allowing as many home runs
ARLINGTON -- Only four pitchers gave up more home runs than left-hander Derek Holland last season, but he doesn't feel the issue was as big of a problem as it played out.
Holland allowed a career-high 32 home runs, tied for fifth most in baseball with the Orioles' Tommy Hunter. He also gave up 1.6 homers per nine innings.
"My home runs weren't that bad last year," Holland said. "You guys blew it up and made it seem like I gave up all kinds of home runs when I really didn't give up all that many, to be honest."
While Holland admits the number is still high, he said he'd rather throw too many strikes than not throw enough.
"Would you rather me give up home runs or walk people?" Holland said. "You got to throw strikes. If you're not throwing strikes, then you're obviously not doing the right job.
"Yes, you can't really defend a home run, but you have a better chance at robbing it. You can't rob a walk. That's going to be my Yogi Berra quote of the day."
Holland has improved in that area this season, allowing only four home runs in 10 starts. His walks per nine innings have slightly dipped as well, from 2.7 to 2.3. It's all part of a solid start he's had, with a 4-2 record and a 2.97 ERA. Holland said he's improved on his location this season.
"I've felt like I've done a better job pitching in and out, controlling the zone and staying out of the middle, for the most part," Holland said. "There's never a day that doesn't go by that you can't get better."
Rangers going to wait and see on Ogando
ARLINGTON -- The Rangers are waiting to see how Alexi Ogando comes out of Friday's start for Double-A Frisco before deciding when to slot him back into the rotation. Ogando is scheduled to throw five innings and 75 pitches in his first outing since a victory over the Athletics on May 15.
Ogando has been sidelined since then with triceps tendinitis. The earliest he would return would be Wednesday against the Red Sox. In that case, Ogando would be pitching on four days of rest. But manager Ron Washington said Ogando's return will likely be later than that, either Thursday against the Red Sox or next weekend's series against the Blue Jays in Toronto.
"We'll just see how he comes out of that and how well his bullpen [session] goes on Sunday," Washington said. "He'll be slotted into one of those games."
The Rangers are pitching Derek Holland, Nick Tepesch and Yu Darvish during the three-game series against the Royals this weekend. The Rangers are off on Monday and then Justin Grimm will pitch Tuesday in Boston.
• The Rangers have assigned third baseman Mike Olt to Double-A Frisco, and expect him to be activated on Friday night. He has not played in a game since April 25 because of vision problems that have been addressed with eye drops and medication.
Olt was hitting .139 with one home run and six RBIs at Triple-A Round Rock before going on the disabled list. In 72 at-bats, he struck out 32 times. He has spent the past week working out at the Rangers training facility in Arizona. He is the Rangers' second-ranked prospect.
• The Red Sox's rotation is uncertain for their three-game series against Texas that starts Tuesday at Fenway Park. Boston is undecided because Clay Buchholz keeps getting pushed back because of an AC joint injury. But the Rangers will likely see John Lackey on Tuesday and Jon Lester either Wednesday or Thursday.
• Triple-A Round Rock and Double-A Frisco were also rained out on Wednesday.
• Because of Wednesday's rainout, Texas lost a half-game in the standings to Oakland. That's the fourth straight day the Rangers have lost ground, something that hasn't happened since May 26-29, 2010.
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields, and follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger. Master Tesfatsion is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.