9/14/2013 6:45 P.M. ET
Moreland's struggles continue at the plate
By T.R. Sullivan and Master Tesfatsion / MLB.com
ARLINGTON -- While Mitch Moreland is still having fun playing baseball, his career-high, nine-game hitless streak has been far from enjoyable.
The first baseman went 0-for-3 with a walk and recorded three strikeouts on 10 pitches in the Rangers' 1-0 loss to the A's on Saturday. Moreland is now 0-for-21 with 14 punchouts in his last nine games.
"I'm working on it, trying to go up there and battle every at-bat to get a good pitch to hit," Moreland said. "It hasn't gone like I planned on it to, but we get to play every day. [I'll] come back tomorrow and try to do it again."
Moreland drew the walk with two outs in the ninth inning against A's closer Grant Balfour on six pitches. But his previous three plate appearances against Bartolo Colon weren't pretty. He struck out on three pitches in the second and fourth innings, and on four pitches to leadoff the seventh. The left-handed hitter's strikeout in the fourth ended the inning with runners at second and third. Moreland's recent struggles have also carried over to when runners are in scoring position, with the first baseman going 3-for-27 (.111).
"Right now, he's just swinging and missing and not putting the ball in play," said manager Ron Washington. "We're doing everything we can do. Once those guys get in the box, they are on their own."
Moreland said he didn't approach the aggressive Colon differently than he would any other pitcher. His average has dropped from .246 to .233 -- the lowest it's been since he was hitting .225 on April 27 -- over the last 14 games, while going 3-for-34 during that stretch.
"It's a game. You're going to have your ups-and-downs," Moreland said. "You're not going to have your best day every day. People go through slumps all the time, teams go through slumps. It's part of it. You're not going to pitch your best all the time, hit your best all the time, play your best defense. You just keep working, have fun and make the most of it."
Berkman set to try hitting right-handed again
ARLINGTON -- Lance Berkman said he'll try to start hitting from the right side again to see how his hip will respond. The switch-hitter has been strictly used to hit from the left side because his hip would get sore when he tried to hit from the right side.
"I've let it rest now for about a week and a half, and now [I want to] try to crank it back up to see what [I've] got," Berkman said.
The issue has not gone away since he went on the disabled list on July 7 with left hip inflammation. Rangers manager Ron Washington said he would've used Berkman to pinch-hit instead of Robinson Chirinos if he was able to hit from the right side or the A's used right-handed closer Grant Balfour.
"You don't know what kind of impact you're going to have, but I felt physically I could get back out there and at least give them an effort," Berkman said. "To this point, we really haven't had an opportunity to find out exactly how that would go."
Berkman denied an Internet-fueled report which said he has fallen out of favor due to a questionable work ethic and he was caught napping in the clubhouse during a game last week. Washington also dismissed the report and questioned where somebody received the information.
"I don't know anything about that," said Washington.
The rumor supposedly originated on one of the Athletics' broadcasts back to Oakland. But both their radio and television broadcasters said they did not talk about Berkman on Friday night.
Garza surprised by ejection on Friday
ARLINGTON -- Matt Garza said he was surprised by his ejection in the ninth inning of Friday's 9-8 loss to the A's while he was in the dugout. Garza was tossed by first-base umpire Joe West for yelling during Kurt Suzuki's at-bat with Jason Frasor on the mound.
"I don't know what happened," Garza said. "To be honest with you, I don't know what happened. I was yelling at Frasor, and probably [it was] just miscommunication or misunderstanding. But it is what it is."
It's common to see players yell from the dugout to voice their displeasure. But Rangers manager Ron Washington said the rare case of a player being ejected depends on the umpire making the call.
"Sometimes [you've] got guys that don't have rabbit ears, and then [you've] got umpires that feel disrespected," Washington said. "In this game, [you've] got to be thick-skinned."
Washington also hopes Alex Rios won't receive any penalty for making contact with third-base umpire Andy Fletcher when arguing a controversial call to end the Rangers' eighth-inning rally. Rios was ejected after he was called out at third base.
"I think that all depends on how the umpire wants to write it up," Washington said. "I think [Fletcher] understands the intensity of the situation, and the competitive juices and spirits going on out there. I certainly hope he takes all that into consideration when he writes his report. That's all that was. It wasn't vicious."
Tepesch a possibility for start on Tuesday vs. Rays
ARLINGTON -- The Rangers remain undecided about their starter for Tuesday's game against the Rays, although Nick Tepesch has not been ruled out despite appearing in relief on Friday night.
Tepesch pitched an inning and gave up two runs on three hits and three walks in the Rangers' 9-8 loss to the Athletics. He threw 23 pitches. It was his third appearance since coming off the disabled list, after missing almost two months with inflammation in his right elbow. He started against the Angels on Aug 8, allowing two runs on four hits and a walk, while throwing 63 pitches.
"He's still in the mix," said manager Ron Washington. "We knew there was a certain amount of pitches we could get out of him that would keep him available for Tuesday."
The other candidates are right-hander Alexi Ogando and left-hander Travis Blackley. Ogando has not allowed a run in three relief appearances since his return from the DL on Sept. 4. But he hasn't thrown more than 28 pitches in any of those appearances. He is still available out of the Rangers' bullpen for now.
Blackley is 1-1 with a 5.02 ERA in three starts since being acquired from the Astros. But he has complained of a "dead arm." That's why the Rangers are considering alternatives, though Blackley threw a scoreless inning against the Athletics on Friday night.
"He hadn't pitched in a while, and it looked like he got his arm strength back," Washington said. "It looked like he was having a dead arm there. First time he pitched, it was around 90-91 mph, and then the third time it was in the middle-80s. He told us that the arm was feeling good -- just nothing coming out of it. About three days ago, it started coming back."
Rangers to hold special fund-raiser
ARLINGTON -- The Texas Rangers Baseball Foundation and the Wives Club will hold a special fund-raiser during the Sept. 28 game against the Angels, with part of the proceeds going to the Christopher Lane Memorial Fund. Lane was a baseball player from Australia who attended East Central (Okla.) University and was killed in August.
The fund was originally established by friends and the Essendon Baseball Club out of Australia to be used to repatriate Christopher, along with the associated travel and funeral costs. More than $150,000 was raised originally, and the family will create an ongoing legacy using those funds and funds raised through this sale along with any other future donations.
During the fund-raiser, fans will be able to purchase grab bags that will contain autographed baseballs, game-used bats, and jerseys from current and former Rangers. The grab bags will be priced at $50, $100, or $200.
In addition, a silent auction will be held for autographed jerseys of Australian-born pitchers Travis Blackley of the Rangers and Grant Balfour of the Athletics. The sale will take place from 4:30-8:30 p.m. CT or while the items last at the Texas Rangers Baseball Foundation kiosk, which is located on the third-base concourse near section 13 and the escalators. Cash and credit cards will be accepted.
• Friday's game lasted four hours and nine minutes. It was the fifth longest nine-inning game in club history, and the longest one that the Rangers lost.
• Craig Gentry went into Saturday's game 4-for-6 against Athletics starter Bartolo Colon. That's why he was in the lineup over left-handed hitters David Murphy and Jim Adduci.
• Washington on why Chirinos pinch-hit in the ninth inning on Friday instead of Geovany Soto. Chirinos had a two-out double.
"[I] brought Chirinos from the bullpen to run in case [A.J.] Pierzynski got on. Then, I was looking for Soto, and he was still in the bullpen. I had to make a move, so I put Chirinos up to hit. I couldn't get Soto out of the bullpen, so I sent him up to hit."
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.