6/16/2013 3:45 P.M. ET
Grimm adapts new technique to help focus
By Master Tesfatsion / MLB.com
ARLINGTON -- Justin Grimm will try a new approach to help slow the game down in his next start Wednesday against the Athletics.
Grimm talked to Colby Lewis and Kyle McClellan about the issue. He felt the speed of the game had been his main problem with runners in scoring position, leading to the big innings he allowed in his last few starts.
"When the game gets fast, you're out there looking at what the catcher is flipping down, and you're just throwing it," Grimm said. "I think that's something I need to learn. It's part of the learning curve."
Grimm plans to focus on something in the ballpark so he can take mental breaks between pitches in his next start. He learned the concept from McClellan, who learned it during his time with the Cardinals. McClellan said Chris Carpenter would stare at the Hardee's sign at Busch Stadium and think about what he would order from the restaurant.
"The hardest thing for a pitcher is to stay mentally locked on for that long," McClellan said. "It's not physical tools; it's not the stuff. It's the mental side. To stay locked in for two hours is tough at this level, and you need little tricks like that to help."
Grimm is 0-2 with an 11.40 ERA in three June starts. He allowed seven runs on 10 hits in 7 2/3 innings in his last start, Friday against the Blue Jays. Grimm's big inning came in the fourth, when the Blue Jays quickly scored four runs on four hits.
"Without those innings, those would've been real solid outings," Grimm said. "I've been dominant, and I'm going to give up hits here and there. I got to learn to minimize it.
"That's the thing: I haven't been thinking with men on. The game has really sped up on me. Early on, I was good at minimizing the damage, looking at the situation that you're in. Any time you give up a couple hits, I need to be slowing it down, realizing the situation, having a plan and executing it."
Moreland to begin rehab assignment
ARLINGTON -- Mitch Moreland was cleared to begin his rehab assignment at Double-A Frisco on Monday. The assignment is expected to last three games.
Moreland ran the bases before Sunday's game against the Blue Jays, but Rangers manager Ron Washington said he had a light day. He has been on the 15-day disabled list since June 6 with a right hamstring strain.
The Rangers could possibly get Jeff Baker back this week. He received a cortisone shot Saturday to help deal with the swelling in his right thumb. Washington said Baker should be ready Friday or possibly even during a four-game series against the Athletics that begins Monday. Baker said he was getting better but would not put a timetable on his return.
"I'm just going day by day and see how it goes, but Friday would be nice," Baker said.
New position but same game for Profar
ARLINGTON -- Jurickson Profar made his first career start at third base Sunday against the Blue Jays.
Profar worked with first-base coach Dave Anderson before the game to get comfortable with the signals used Sunday. Profar made one appearance at third base in the Minors in July with Double-A Frisco.
"There's no challenge," Profar said. "Catch the ball, and throw the ball. As long as it's baseball, I can play anywhere."
Rangers manager Ron Washington said Profar could handle the hot corner despite his lack of experience. It is part of Profar's new role as the team's utilityman.
"He understands his position up here right now is a utility role," Washington said. "As I've talked with him, it means a lot more work than you've done normally. There's some positions we want to get you familiarized with, which means you got to work. He's all for it."
Adrian Beltre was the designated hitter, and Lance Berkman received Father's Day off. Both changes were planned by Washington. Profar hit at the leadoff spot with Ian Kinsler third in the lineup. Kinsler's last start in the three-hole was May 22, 2011, against the Phillies. He has a .275 batting average with six home runs and 38 RBIs in 83 games batting third.
"I had no other options," Washington said of the lineup changes.
• High-A Myrtle Beach clinched the Southern Division first-half title Saturday. Hickory could clinch the Northern Division first-half title with a win Sunday against Delmarva.
• The Rangers have gone 67 straight home series of three games or more without being swept. The last time the Rangers were swept in a four-game series was July 8-10, 2010, against the Orioles at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington.
• Josh Lindblom became the sixth pitcher in club history to lose a start on his birthday Saturday. It had not happened since Brandon McCarthy lost to the Orioles on July 7, 2007.
Master Tesfatsion is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.