5/3/2014 8:13 P.M. ET
Ross, Perez work on hitting to prep for Colorado trip
By T.R. Sullivan / MLB.com
ANAHEIM -- Rangers pitchers had another early round of batting practice on Saturday in preparation for facing the Rockies in Coors Field on Monday and Tuesday. There will be no designated hitter in the Interleague series at the National League ballpark.
The two starters are the ones who really need to be ready. The Rangers aligned their rotation so that Martin Perez and Robbie Ross Jr. would start those games, so they were out there on Saturday taking their cuts off of Greg Maddux.
"Greg is nasty ... he's still got it," Ross said.
Perez is 0-for-5 with four strikeouts in two games pitched in National League parks. Ross is 0-for-2. Manager Ron Washington just wants them to be able to get down a bunt, but he is hoping they can "slash" if necessary.
"That's what I was concentrating on," Perez said.
The slash play is where the batter turns to bunt, but then swings away. It is used to combat hard-charging first and third basemen. Washington admitted he's not sure his young pitchers understand the concept, but he still wants them working on it.
"It is hard, because they don't swing the bat very much, but you never know when a situation will come up where they need to slash," Washington said. "They may swing and miss, but they may swing and make contact, and open up a big inning."
Choo back in left, ankle at 80-percent health
ANAHEIM -- Rangers outfielder Shin-Soo Choo was back in the lineup on Saturday night, but still not 100 percent while dealing with a sore left ankle. Choo, playing left field for the first time since April 21, had to leave Friday's game in the seventh inning because the ankle was sore.
"I think I'm feeling much better than yesterday," Choo said before the game Saturday. "I'm more comfortable. Yesterday, walking was uncomfortable."
Choo estimated he is running at 80 percent. That's good enough for the Rangers, who need their leadoff hitter in the lineup. Choo was 3-for-4 on Friday night, and his sixth-inning leadoff home run sparked the Rangers' comeback after they trailed, 2-0.
The Rangers also know Choo is not going to be 100 percent unless he goes on the disabled list, and that's not going to happen unless he does something to aggravate the injury.
"It probably will linger," Rangers manager Ron Washington said. "We're talking about his ankle, so we'll see. As long as he's playing, I don't see how it will get 100 percent. But he can perform, so we'll see.
"He's probably going to get more DH days than we want and he wants. But you've got to do what you have to do."
Choo originally hurt the ankle trying to beat out an infield hit in a game against the Athletics on April 21. Choo, who hurt the ankle stepping on first base awkwardly, was out of the lineup for six straight games, then was used at designated hitter on Tuesday and Wednesday against Oakland. He went into Saturday's games ninth in the American League with a .325 batting average, and second with a .446 on-base percentage.
"It will take some time, but I'm going to keep playing," Choo said. "Hopefully, I won't make it worse, and it will get better."
Rangers make Minors 'pen promotions
ANAHEIM -- The Rangers have promoted a couple of their top right-handed relief prospects, moving Matt West to Triple-A Round Rock and Keone Kela to Double-A Frisco.
West, who is on the 40-man roster, was 2-0 with a 0.68 ERA and three saves in eight games for Frisco. In 13 1/3 innings, he allowed seven hits, two walks and struck out 10. He is pitching himself back into prospect status after missing almost all of last season because of Tommy John elbow reconstruction surgery.
Kela, a 12th-round pick out of Everett (Wash.) Community College, can throw a fastball in the high 90-mph range and occasionally hit 100. He was 0-1 with a 2.61 ERA at Class A Advanced Myrtle Beach, allowing nine hits and four walks with 13 strikeouts in 10 1/3 innings. Abel De Los Santos, who had a 1.69 ERA at Class A Hickory, replaced Kela at Myrtle Beach.
West will join two other hard-throwing relief prospects at Round Rock. Roman Mendez has a 1.69 ERA in eight appearances, and Lisalverto Bonilla has a 5.00 ERA. Kela hooks up in Frisco with Wilmer Font, who has a 2.92 ERA in 10 relief outings for the Roughriders. Mendez, Bonilla and Font are all on the 40-man roster.
All of these pitchers are candidates for the Rangers' bullpen at some point in the future. Daniel Bard remains another future candidate. The former Red Sox setup reliever, signed as a Minor League free agent in the offseason, remains on a throwing program in Arizona. He underwent shoulder surgery on Jan. 2 to remove a rib bone that was pressing against a nerve in his arm.
• Rangers closer Joakim Soria went into Saturday's game having retired 14 straight hitters. Opponents were also hitless in their last 23 at-bats, with one batter reaching base on an error.
• Hickory has two key players on the disabled list. Pitcher Yohander Mendez, who had a 1.17 ERA in four games, has been shut down for two weeks with shoulder inflammation, while outfielder Lewis Brinson, who was Texas' No. 1 Draft pick in 2012, is sidelined with a minor quad problem. He was hitting .287 with three home runs and 11 RBIs in 22 games.
• Pitcher Tanner Scheppers, on the disabled list with elbow inflammation, played catch from 90 feet for the third straight day on Saturday. He has been sidelined since April 18 and just resumed throwing on Thursday.
• Alexi Ogando led the AL with 16 relief appearances going into Saturday.
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.