6/30/2013 8:26 P.M. ET
Scheppers shows rust after three days off
By T.R. Sullivan and Master Tesfatsion / MLB.com
ARLINGTON -- Right-handed reliever Tanner Scheppers couldn't record an out Sunday after getting three days off.
Scheppers pitched to three batters in the eighth, allowing two singles and a walk to load the bases. He was pulled out of the game on a 2-0 count to Jay Bruce for Neal Cotts. Only two of his nine pitches in the outing were strikes.
"It was just an off day," Scheppers said. "I just didn't have it. Poor command of everything."
Scheppers was charged with two runs, raising his ERA from 1.11 to 1.55. Scheppers said before the game he needed an extra day off Saturday, but there was nothing wrong physically.
"He was a little bit off," Geovany Soto said. "We were trying to attack the strike zone."
Scheppers has appeared in 39 games, tied for the third-most relief appearances in the American League. Prior to his three days off, Scheppers had pitched seven times in a stretch of 11 games.
"He has been taking on a huge workload and we decided to back off him," manager Ron Washington said before the game. "I certainly don't want him trying to battle through something and cost us more time. I'd rather give him time down now."
Ogando, Lewis making strides in rehab
ARLINGTON -- Alexi Ogando and Colby Lewis both progressed through their latest bullpen sessions Sunday. Ogando will move to a live batting-practice session Wednesday while Lewis will throw another bullpen session Tuesday.
Ogando, who has been sidelined since June 6 with inflammation in his right shoulder, threw approximately 55 pitches in the bullpen on Sunday. Ogando said he is about "90 percent" healthy.
"It went fine," Ogando said. "I was able to throw all my pitches."
Ogando will still likely need at least two rehab starts before he is ready to be activated. He was also sidelined from May 16-June 5 because of inflammation in his right triceps muscle and made just one start on rehab assignment before being activated. He then made only one start before having to go back on the disabled list.
Lewis threw about 40 pitches in his bullpen session and said he is "excited" about the progress he has been making. Lewis, who is 11 months removed from surgery to repair a torn flexor tendon, said he is growing more confident that he'll be able to pitch for the Rangers this season.
"My last two bullpens have assured me of that," Lewis said. "I think they'll have time to stick me in the rotation for the push, and if they want me on the playoff roster … we'll see. I feel good. We're getting there."
Lewis has made three starts on rehab assignment, but the last one was on May 28 for Triple-A Round Rock. He was twice recalled from his assignment because of some soreness unrelated to the surgery.
Berkman misses finale, hopes to return Tuesday
ARLINGTON -- Lance Berkman, who missed his third straight game Sunday, hopes to return to the lineup Tuesday after the Rangers' off-day. He said he felt better Sunday and doesn't expect to require a stint on the disabled list or an MRI on his right knee.
Berkman said the oddity of his latest injury can be compared to when he tore his ACL in the same knee playing flag football after the 2004 season with the Astros.
"At this point, I'm used to dealing with aches and pains," Berkman said.
Nelson Cruz replaced Berkman as the team's designated hitter for Sunday's finale vs. the Reds. Leonys Martin started in right field and Engel Beltre played center.
"It's the American League," Berkman said. "It's not like I'm replacing a pitcher. I'm not significantly better than anyone in the lineup. Who would I be pinch-hitting for?"
Rangers host Pitch, Hit and Run competition
ARLINGTON -- The Rangers hosted their Pitch, Hit and Run competition before Sunday's game at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington. They had 25 participants, with four boys and girls divisions.
Among the eight winners included Ty'son Edwards, 10, in the 9-10 boys division and his sister Tori, 8, in the 7-8 girls division from Flower Mound. It was Tori's first major competition.
"It was really cool; I'm really glad I got to do this," Tori said.
Eric Hillman, 14, won the 13-14 boys division. The Midland native thought he would've placed in second or third because he didn't do well on the pitching portion of the competition. "I was nervous," Hillman said. "It was very exciting to come to the Rangers Ballpark and do this, though. It was amazing."
The winners will have a chance to fly to New York for the All-Star Game. Their scores will be compared among the other 29 representatives from each club and MLB Network will announce three winners from each division around 5:45 p.m. CT on Sunday. They will receive an all-paid trip to New York and take part in the All-Star festivities, including shagging fly balls during the Home Run Derby.
• For the first time in three years, Rangers manager Ron Washington won't have to worry about managing the American League during the All-Star game.
"[The Rangers] gave me the All-Star list, I made my choices, put it in an envelope and was through with it," Washington said. "Would I have rather been in that situation? Of course, but I didn't have to. It was comfortable for me."
While he won't be involved in the festivities in New York this year, Washington thought Cruz, Robbie Ross, Scheppers and Joe Nathan were worthy of All-Star nominations.
"Me personally, I'd like for our guys to get a break, but I understand the importance of the All-Star Game and what it means to them," Washington said. "That doesn't stop me from wanting them to get a break."
• The Rangers start a three-game set against the Mariners on Tuesday, in which they'll face Felix Hernandez and Hisashi Iwakuma. They're 1-2 in four starts against the Rangers this season, with Hernandez taking both losses.
• The Rangers are batting .148 in extra innings, the lowest in the Major Leagues.
• Jeff Baker has played in just nine of the Rangers' 27 games in June but is still second on the team with four home runs for the month.
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.