9/4/2013 4:48 P.M. ET
Club weighs interest on Japanese star Tanaka
By T.R. Sullivan / MLB.com
OAKLAND -- The Rangers aren't planning to make the same big push for Japanese pitcher Masahiro Tanaka as they did two years ago for Yu Darvish.
Tanaka could be the next big Japanese star to come to the United States if he is posted by the Tohuku Rakuten Golden Eagles this winter. The Rangers have scouted Tanaka, who turns 25 on Nov. 1 and is 19-0 with a 1.20 ERA in 22 starts, but right now they don't see him on the same level as Darvish.
The Rangers landed the rights to Darvish by submitting a $51.7 million posting fee. They ended up signing him to a six-year, $56 million contract.
Darvish had a 1.99 ERA in seven seasons in Japan while averaging 6.5 hits, 2.4 walks and 8.9 strikeouts per nine innings. Tanaka has a 2.32 ERA over seven seasons while averaging 8.1 hits, 1.9 walks and 8.5 strikeouts per nine innings. The report on Tanaka is he has good secondary pitches, but not the same overpowering fastball as Darvish.
Darvish will be a part of the Rangers rotation next season that will include Derek Holland and Martin Perez. The club also expects Matt Harrison to be at full strength after missing almost an entire season because of back surgery. Nick Tepesch would be the early leading candidate for the fifth starter spot if the Rangers don't re-sign Matt Garza, who is a free agent after this season.
The Rangers also have to decide what to do with Alexi Ogando and Neftali Feliz, internal conversations they expect to have in the offseason. Ogando was moved back to the rotation this season and was 5-4 with a 3.47 ERA in 15 starts. But he has also been on the disabled list three times. Feliz was the Rangers closer in 2010-11 before moving into the rotation in 2012. He was 3-1 with a 3.16 ERA in eight outings before coming down with the elbow problems that led to Tommy John reconstruction surgery.
Ogando, who was activated Tuesday, said he would like to remain as a starter. Feliz is working out of the bullpen right now since being activated Sunday and is non-commital about his future role.
"I don't know if my future is as a starter or a reliever," Feliz said. "Right now I'm trying to help the team in the bullpen as best I can."
Pierzynski starts day after home-plate collision
OAKLAND -- Rangers catcher A.J. Pierzynski was back in the lineup Wednesday afternoon, one day after his collision at home plate with Athletics infielder Josh Donaldson.
Donaldson was trying to score from second on an infield hit. Rangers shortstop Jurickson Profar made a diving stop in the hole and threw from his knees to get Donaldson as he crashed into Pierzynski at the plate.
"It was OK," Pierzynski said. "I wish I had a little more time to get the ball and get ready. It was OK. I've been hit harder and I've been hit softer. It was clean and his only option at that point. It's part of the game. It's what I signed up for. I'm glad they haven't outlawed it. It's still an exciting play."
There have been discussions about the possibility of doing more to protect the catcher, especially since Giants catcher Buster Posey missed most of 2011 with a broken left leg from a collision at home plate. But Pierzynski is not in favor going out of the way to protect the catcher.
"No…it's what we signed up for as a catcher," Pierzynski said. "As long as they don't go out of their way when you don't have the baseball … when you have the ball, you expect it. It's part of the game. I have been hit plenty of times."
Pierzynski tried to help Donaldson up, but the offer wasn't accepted. But they did chat when Donaldson came to the plate the next time up.
"When I came up in my third at-bat, I said, 'Hey, you OK?'" Donaldson said. "He said, "Yeah,' and he asked me if I was OK. Hopefully there's no hard feelings. It was the only play I really had there because I made a boneheaded mistake."
Andrus expected back Friday; Murphy, Berkman sit
OAKLAND -- Shortstop Elvis Andrus, sidelined with tightness in his lower back, was hoping to talk his way into the lineup Wednesday. Rangers manager Ron Washington didn't give him the chance. Washington decided to give him another day off to go along with Thursday's off-day.
"I thought it was going to be Wednesday, I guess it's going to be Friday," Andrus said. "I feel good I felt I could DH. I guess they are going to give me an extra day and make sure I'm 100 percent."
Jim Adduci was the designated hitter, making his second start since being called up Sunday. Craig Gentry was also in left field as the Rangers sat both David Murphy and Lance Berkman despite a right-hander on the mound for Oakland. This is the second time in four days that Murphy was out even though Texas was facing a right-handed pitcher.
"David played two in a row," Washington said. "It's a quick turnaround [with the day game] and I wanted to get some young eyes out there. Gentry had a good night last night [2-for-5] and I wanted to get him back in there. David will be back in the lineup when we get to Anaheim."
Berkman was 0-for-2 on Tuesday and hitless in six at-bats since being activated. But Washington is encouraged from what he has seen from Berkman at the plate.
"He hasn't seen a whole lot of pitches, but he gives you a good at-bat and makes contact," Washington said. "Sooner or later it's going to fall into place."
Berkman is a switch-hitter, but right now he is limited to hitting from the left side of the plate. The inflammation in his left hip makes it difficult for Berkman to hit right-handed. Washington pinch-hit Jeff Baker for Berkman on Tuesday when the Athletics brought in a left-handed reliever.
"If he had to hit right-handed he could," Washington said. "If we don't have to do it, I won't."
Perez named AL Rookie of Month for August
OAKLAND -- Rangers pitcher Martin Perez has been named the American League Rookie of the Month for August. It's the second time a Texas pitcher has won the award as Justin Grimm was selected in April.
Perez was 5-0 with a 3.06 ERA in five starts. In 35 1/3 innings, he struck out 26 and walked 11 while opponents batted .223. He was the first Rangers rookie pitcher to win five games in a single month.
He followed that up by beating the Athletics on Tuesday, giving him six wins in six straight starts. It's the most wins in consecutive starts by a rookie since Ivan Nova won eight straight for the Yankees in 2011.
"He has been a breath of fresh air," manager Ron Washington said. "All the talk about the kid before he came to the big leagues and to see all the things that were said come alive before your eyes is special. He's growing up. He's maturing. It's got to be big for any organization. He's growing up before our eyes, so just enjoy it."
Perez will receive a specially designed and engraved trophy for his accomplishment.
• Perez's victory Tuesday was his ninth of the season, the most by a rookie pitcher in the American League. Perez is 9-3 with a 3.14 ERA in 15 starts while Chris Archer of Tampa Bay is 8-6 with a 3.14 ERA in 18 starts and Dan Straily of Oakland is 8-7 with a 4.38 ERA in 23 starts.
• Mitch Moreland was amused to hear that he had tied a record with his home run Tuesday night. It was his fifth at the O.co Coliseum this year. That ties him for the most by an Athletics opponent at the Coliseum since the facility opened in 1968. Said Moreland, "They have a record for everything … good lord. If we have more runs than them after nine innings, that's the record I'm looking for."
• Tuesday was Washington's 600th victory as Rangers manager, extending his own club record.
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.