7/29/2013 7:30 P.M. ET
Rangers shuffle lineup, move Martin to leadoff spot
By T.R. Sullivan / MLB.com
ARLINGTON -- Rangers manager Ron Washington, looking to shake up his lineup, moved Leonys Martin into the leadoff spot for Monday's game against the Angels.
Ian Kinsler, who had been leading off for much of the season, moved down into the No. 3 spot and Nelson Cruz was dropped to No. 6 in the order. Martin has been in the No. 2 spot twice this season, but this is his first time leading off.
"I'm just trying to get something going," Washington said. "There has been a lot of talk of Kinsler hitting in the middle of the order, so I thought I would try it and see if it makes a difference. I don't know if it will stay like that."
Martin went into the game hitting .277 with a .327 on-base percentage. He was 10th in the league with 20 stolen bases and tied for the lead with seven bunt hits.
"I don't know if he's ready to bat leadoff, but we're going to find out and see if it makes a difference," Washington said. "It's a learning process for him. We'll see what happens and if he's ready for it."
Monday marked the third time this season Kinsler has hit third. Cruz seemed to be thriving in the third spot, but he went into Monday's game hitting .154 over his last 10 games. Kinsler was hitting .196 over his last 12 games.
"It doesn't really matter where you hit in the lineup," Kinsler said. "If you do a quality job and are able to make a positive impact on the game, then that's really the goal for any hitter no matter what position they're in."
Berkman, Ramirez not yet ready to help in Majors
ARLINGTON -- The Rangers are still looking for offensive help before the Trade Deadline. It will not come from Lance Berkman or Manny Ramirez.
Berkman remains on the disabled list with inflammation in his left hip and back. He is also dealing with a chronic sore right knee, and the possibility grows that he will not play again this season. He did not make the road trip to Cleveland and did not take batting practice on the field with the Rangers on Monday.
"His body's not responding to the way we'd hoped, unfortunately," general manager Jon Daniels said. "He's not close at this point."
Even when he has been in the lineup, Berkman has not produced like the Rangers hoped when they signed him to a one-year deal in the offseason to be their regular designated hitter. He was hitting .254 with six home runs, 34 RBIs and a .377 slugging percentage in 68 games before going on the disabled list July 7.
The Rangers could use a designated hitter, but it won't be Ramirez, who has been playing at Triple-A Round Rock since the Rangers signed him to a Minor League contract on July 3. Ramirez went into Monday hitting .269 with three home runs and 10 RBIs in 18 games. The Rangers do not see him as an option at the big league level and may end up making a decision on his status later this week.
"Manny's been a good teammate," Daniels said. "But we don't have plans to call him up. The reports don't justify that."
Rangers speak with Scheppers about bar incident
ARLINGTON -- Rangers officials spoke with pitchers Tanner Scheppers and Joe Nathan, and catcher A.J. Pierzynski on Monday about the incident that took place early Friday morning in Cleveland.
The Rangers are content with Scheppers' explanation of the altercation with a group of strangers, but also acknowledged that Nathan and Pierzynski were with him at a downtown Cleveland bar at 2:30 Friday morning.
Scheppers said he was "sucker-punched" by unknown assailants, who then fled the scene. Scheppers did not file a report with the Cleveland police, but they did take him back to his hotel. He suffered bruises and cuts around his left eye.
"I want to thank the Cleveland police for handling it properly and taking me back to the hotel," Scheppers said Monday. "The next time I'll be more careful."
Scheppers originally said he was alone when the altercation occurred. On Monday, he confirmed that Nathan and Pierzynski were with him.
"Initially, I didn't say it because I didn't think it was a big deal and I didn't want to involve them," Scheppers said.
Lewis makes solid rehab start at Double-A
ARLINGTON -- Colby Lewis is getting closer to being an option at the Major League level. He threw 71 pitches in his medical rehabilitation start for Double-A Frisco on Sunday and made it through five innings. He allowed three runs on four hits, did not walk a batter and struck out five.
"I feel like velocity was back up and I was definitely locating my fastball better," Lewis said. "Slider was sharp. My misses were definitely fewer. [Pitching coach Mike] Maddux pointed out something that I was doing wrong in my mechanics.
"It was definitely on the fastball, and was able to stay behind it and keep it more true than to the side of it and it cutting on me. I definitely made that adjustment, now it's just time to keep going out there and running out pitches and keep getting reps in."
Lewis is scheduled to pitch for Frisco again on Friday. If that goes well, the Rangers could look at bringing him back to the Major Leagues. He has been sidelined since undergoing surgery to repair a torn flexor tendon in his right elbow on July 27, 2012.
"I think we're about to have one more at 90 pitches and probably be good," Lewis said. "It'd just be up to them after that."
Matt Harrison, who is coming back from back surgery, is also getting ready to pitch in a game again. Harrison is scheduled to pitch two innings for Frisco on Wednesday in Midland, Texas. Harrison was cleared for game action after throwing two live batting practice sessions with no problems last week.
"After the way the live batting practice went the other day, I think I'm ready to go," Harrison said. "I bounced back good."
• The Rangers may be considering trading Nathan, but Washington sounds like he doesn't think Joakim Soria is ready to take over as closer. Soria missed 1 1/2 years because of Tommy John surgery, and he has made just six appearances since being activated off the disabled list.
Said Washington: "I think his intelligence is there, but he's still seeking the command and crispness on his pitches. He knows what he's doing and the more he gets the ball, the better he will be. Right now though, I don't want to over-stress him."
• Triple-A Round Rock catcher Jose Felix has suffered a fractured hamate bone in his left hand and will undergo surgery later this week. He will be out 6-8 weeks. Felix, highly regarded for his defensive ability, was hitting .270 for Round Rock but with a .291 on-base percentage and a .306 slugging percentage.
• Catcher Jorge Alfaro, who is the No. 1 ranked prospect in the Rangers system by MLB.com, has been activated off the disabled list at Class A Hickory. He was sidelined with a fractured left hand that forced him to miss the All-Star Futures Game in New York earlier this month.
• Michael Kirkman, who has been sidelined since June 7 while getting treatment for skin cancer, is scheduled to pitch five innings for Round Rock on Friday in his first medical rehab assignment.
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.