8/19/2013 11:50 P.M. ET
Rangers looking to stay tough on southpaws
By T.R. Sullivan / MLB.com
ARLINGTON -- The Rangers are 24-13 when the opponent starts a left-handed pitcher. That record will get tested this weekend in Chicago because the Rangers are slated to face three left-handers during their series against the White Sox.
The White Sox are scheduled to start left-handers Chris Sale on Friday, Hector Santiago on Saturday and John Danks on Sunday. Sale is 3-0 with a 3.48 ERA in three starts against the Rangers over the past two seasons. Santiago is 1-0 with a 1.23 ERA in three career appearances against the Rangers, while Danks is 1-5 with a 3.88 ERA in nine career starts.
The Rangers, who have a scheduled off-day on Thursday, are planning to pitch Martin Perez, Yu Darvish and Matt Garza in the three-game series. Manager Ron Washington said the Rangers are not going to use the off-day to change the rotation. Instead, everybody will get an extra day of rest.
Berkman isn't anticipating return until Sept. 1
ARLINGTON -- Designated hitter Lance Berkman, who has been on the 15-day disabled list since July 7, said he doesn't expect to be activated until Sept. 1 when the roster is expanded. Berkman, who is dealing with inflammation in his left hip and a chronic sore right knee, said he is willing to wait that long even though he's ready to be activated now.
"In a perfect world, Sept. 1 would be tomorrow," Berkman said. "But it's not. The situation is a difficult one for the organization. The roster, the way it is configured, doesn't lend itself to a change because it would leave us short in other areas. The best thing for us is to wait until Sept. 1, unless somebody gets hurt."
Until then, Berkman will continue to work out and take batting practice with the Rangers. He is planning to travel with the club on the next road trip to Chicago and Seattle. Because Berkman is willing to wait, the Rangers can keep Adam Rosales on the roster as a utility infielder. The last time Texas designated Rosales for assignment, he was claimed by the Athletics. The Rangers reclaimed him a week later.
Berkman would likely come back in a limited role, either as a part-time designated hitter or a pinch-hitter off the bench. He is not 100 percent healthy from his various injuries and the right knee has been a problem all season.
"It's OK," Berkman said. "It's not great, but it's not going to be."
As far as how effective he'll be, Berkman said, "We'll see. Until you go out there and do it, it's hard to say. If I can help, I'm going to."
Blackley slated for Tuesday's start vs. Astros
ARLINGTON -- The Rangers have announced left-hander Travis Blackley will start on Tuesday night against the Astros. Blackley, who will be the first Australian-born player to play for the Rangers, replaces Alexi Ogando, who is sidelined with inflammation in his right shoulder.
The Rangers will make a corresponding roster move before Tuesday's game to make room for Blackley. They could either put Ogando on the disabled list or they could option left-hander Robbie Ross to Triple-A. Putting Ogando on the DL is the most likely move, but he has shown significant improvement and may only need to miss one start.
"We haven't made that decision yet," manager Ron Washington said.
The Rangers acquired Blackley from the Astros on Aug. 14 for cash considerations. He was 1-1 with a 4.89 ERA in 42 relief appearances for the Astros. He pitched three scoreless innings for Triple-A Round Rock on Thursday, throwing 40 pitches. The Rangers are hoping Blackley can give them five-six innings on Tuesday.
"Honestly, I could probably go out there and throw 100 [pitches], but I don't know how I would feel the next couple of days," Blackley said. "But adrenaline takes over when you're on the mound, and just go with whatever they have planned and take it from there. Try to keep throwing up zeros until I'm taken out."
Blackley has made 23 starts in his Major League career and is 6-7 with a 6.00 ERA. He has just eight wins at the Major League level and four of them have come against the Rangers. Texas decided to go with him and leave right-hander Ross Wolf in the bullpen.
"I think his experience plays into it more than anything," Washington said. "We're not looking for him to give us six-seven innings, just give us what he's got and then we'll go to the bullpen."
Struggling Ross could sharpen up at Triple-A
ARLINGTON -- The Rangers have to make a roster move on Tuesday to make room for pitcher Travis Blackley. The most logical move would be to place pitcher Alexi Ogando on the disabled list. The other option would be to send struggling left-handed reliever Robbie Ross to Triple-A Round Rock.
Ross would be recalled on Sept. 1, but sending him down for the rest of August would allow him to work on some things at Round Rock. Ross has a 6.55 ERA in his last 13 games since the beginning of July. He had a 0.37 ERA over the first two months of the season.
"The stuff is there, the issue is he's not executing his pitches," manager Ron Washington said. "His velocity is there but when he wants to go inside, he's not getting in there. When he wants to go outside, he's not getting it there. He's leaving it over the plate and they're not missing it."
Most disconcerting are left-handed hitters. They have 14 hits in their last 29 at-bats against Ross, including three home runs.
"It's frustrating, those are the guys I have to get out," Ross said. "I'm not getting them out consistently, that's the way it goes sometimes. I have to battle through it."
Ross had to deal with fatigue through the second half of last season and spent the first two weeks of September on the disabled list. He said that's not the case this season.
"I feel better than last season times 10," Ross said.
• Astros manager Bo Porter on not having to face Yu Darvish in this series: "Isn't that great news?"
• Class A Myrtle Beach pitcher Alec Asher has earned his second straight Carolina League Pitcher of the Week honor. He has not allowed a run in his last 14 innings and is 8-7 with a 3.14 ERA in 23 games and one relief appearance.
• Nick Tepesch, who is on the disabled list with inflammation in his right elbow, threw his second bullpen session on Monday. The club said Tepesch's next step will be a 60-pitch bullpen on a date to be determined depending on how he feels on Tuesday. He threw 40 pitches on Monday.
• The Rangers entered Monday's game having committed 54 outs running the bases, the most in the Major Leagues.
• Myrtle Beach infielder Drew Robinson is the Carolina League Player of the Week and Class A Hickory outfielder Nick Williams is the South Atlantic League Player of the Year. Class A Spokane's Richard Alvarez is the Northwest League Pitcher of the Week.
• Right-hander Neftali Feliz pitched a scoreless inning during a rehabilitation assignment on Monday night for Triple-A Round Rock. He struck out two and threw 17 pitches. It was his fifth rehab outing and second since being shut down for a week with triceps tendinitis.
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.