9/9/2013 9:32 P.M. ET
Soto, not Pierzynski, behind plate for Darvish
By T.R. Sullivan / MLB.com
ARLINGTON -- Geovany Soto was behind the plate with Yu Darvish on the mound Monday night. A.J. Pierzynski had been the starting catching in seven straight games with Darvish on the mound, but was at designated hitter Monday.
Manager Ron Washington said the decision had nothing to do with any disagreements Darvish and Pierzynski may have had in his previous start against the Athletics last week.
"I didn't think of that," Washington said before Monday's game. "[Soto] did a good job [Sunday] and I thought I'd throw him a bone. No matter which one I catch, they both do a good job. Today I decided to go with Soto."
Soto was 2-for-3 on Sunday. Pierzynski said he has no issues with Darvish.
"Darvish and I are fine," Pierzynski said. "There's nothing there. That's it. Wash has been wanting me to take a couple of DH days and Geo had a couple of good at-bats [Sunday]."
With Pierzynski at DH, Lance Berkman was out of the lineup for the fifth straight game. He has not played since going a combined 0-for-6 last Monday and Tuesday against the Athletics.
"I understand it," Berkman said. "At this point in the season, you really can't afford to let a guy get his feet wet again when you're trying to win every game that's so crucial and you've had guys that have been in there playing pretty well. I understand it. The competitor in you obviously wants to be a part of things, but by the same token, I don't hold any grudges on anything that's gone on. It's just the circumstances of a playoff chase."
Ogando ready to start? Rangers waiting to see
ARLINGTON -- The Rangers, after revamping their rotation over the weekend, won't need their fifth starter before next Tuesday against Tampa Bay. That gives the club time to decide if Alexi Ogando is ready to return to the rotation.
Ogando still hasn't been stretched out as a starter, but he did earn a victory in relief Sunday, holding the Angels scoreless for 1 1/3 innings as the Rangers rallied for a 4-3 victory. He threw 23 pitches and hasn't started since Aug. 13.
Nick Tepesch started Sunday and allowed two runs on four hits in 3 1/3 innings. He walked one, struck out five and one of the runs scored after Tepesch left the game after giving up a one-out single to Mark Trumbo in the fourth. The Angels scored two that inning after reliever Joseph Ortiz gave up a couple of doubles.
"I thought Tepesch did a great job," manager Ron Washington said. "We'll just see how it goes. I wouldn't be shocked if Ogando starts a game and I wouldn't be shocked if he didn't start a game. Ogando has always been a candidate to start, but he just came off the disabled list. He's got to face hitters and then we'll make a decision."
A decision on the fifth starter will be crucial down the stretch. The Rangers were able to switch around their rotation because they are off Thursday. But that is their last day off. Beginning Friday, they play 17 straight days down to the end of the season and they will need a fifth starter for three of those games.
Martin likely to remain at bottom of order
ARLINGTON -- The Pirates had a right-hander on the mound against the Rangers on Monday night, but that still didn't bring manager Ron Washington to put Leonys Martin back in the leadoff spot. Martin was dropped to No. 9 on Sunday with a left-hander on the mound for the Angels and will likely stay there for the rest of the season.
"I just felt going down the stretch he was trying to do too much," Washington said. "I decided to take some pressure off him. He has never played into September like this."
Martin responded to the demotion by going 2-for-3 with a walk and two runs scored in a 4-3 victory over the Angels on Sunday.
"I still have the same mental approach, try to start a rally, try to get on base and try to score a run," Martin said. "I don't change my mental approach. This is September, but I'm still strong mentally. I feel confident every day and every game."
Washington is willing to move Ian Kinsler back into the leadoff spot because he feels good about Alex Rios moving up into the third spot. Rios, who was acquired from the White Sox on Aug. 9, was 9-for-21 with three home runs on the last road trip and went into Monday's game against the Pirates hitting .297 with four home runs and 12 RBIs in 26 games with the Rangers.
"I had fallen into some bad habits in Chicago and had to make some adjustments," Rios said. "It's been working lately. It's about how I feel, not about mechanics. As you get that feel, good things happen. You start driving the ball and connecting with more power."
Adduci starts over Murphy, but suffers biceps strain
ARLINGTON -- Rangers left fielder Jim Adduci left Monday night's game against the Pirates with a right biceps strain in the fifth inning.
Adduci struck out swinging against Gerrit Cole to end the inning and held his right arm on his way to the dugout. He is listed as day to day.
David Murphy replaced Adduci in left to start the sixth. Adduci was 0-for-2 with two strikeouts batting eighth in his third career start.
Adduci started in left instead of Murphy on Monday with the Rangers facing a right-hander. Both are left-handed hitters and this is the third time Adduci has started over Murphy in the last six games against a right-handed starter for the opponent.
Adduci, who was called up at the beginning of the month, went into Monday's game with three hits and a walk in nine plate appearances.
"Obviously David is struggling," manager Ron Washington said. "I just want to see what Adduci can do. He gives you a good at-bat, he can run and he can play the outfield. Today I decided to go with him and see what happens."
Murphy went into Monday's game hitting .178 over his last 19 games, and his .221 batting average is the third lowest among American League qualifiers.
"That's not going to change the amount of fight that's in me," Murphy said. "I know I might not get the amount of playing time down the stretch that I'd like, but I still feel that I can help the team and contribute when I get a chance. I'm going to keep fighting every day to find my swing and get to a point where if I am in the game and get at-bats, that those are going to be good at-bats and hopefully I'll contribute."
• Pirates manager Clint Hurdle, who was the Rangers hitting coach in 2010, on facing his old team and manager Ron Washington: "I love him [Wash]. There's nothing I don't like about Wash. One of the most satisfying opportunities I've had in my professional career, to come and work for him. To help him push through a challenging season for him. He's all in, all the time. Trust, honesty -- it was easy. A great group of guys, as soon as we leave town, I'll wish him well."
• Washington on what Hurdle has meant to the Pirates: "They have some talent over there and the one thing Clint has always been able to do is communicate. He has always been able to get the best out of his personnel whether it's as a hitting coach or as a manager. He's a well-prepared guy and very studious. He knows the opposition in and out and he knows his team in and out. The general manager and ownership have given him what he needs and he's done a great job in three years. I'm not surprised. Clint has always been a tremendous baseball guy."
• Pitcher Matt Harrison underwent thoracic outlet syndrome surgery Monday. Dr. Greg Pearl performed the surgery and Harrison is expected to be ready for Spring Training.
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.