5/8/2014 1:24 A.M. ET
Veteran Baker called up to help bullpen
By T.R. Sullivan / MLB.com
ARLINGTON -- Trying to reinforce their bullpen after two rough games in Colorado, the Rangers called up right-hander Scott Baker from Triple-A Round Rock on Wednesday and optioned outfielder Daniel Robertson.
The move means the Rangers will only have three bench players for the next day or so while they go with an eight-man bullpen. At some point soon the Rangers will likely go with just seven relievers and possibly option pitcher Nick Martinez back to the Minors so he can start pitching every fifth day.
Baker responded by saving the bullpen, pitching 5 1/3 innings of relief after starter Colby Lewis allowed seven runs in 3 2/3 innings.
"We're just trying to get the bullpen straightened out so we're going to have to go a player short for the next couple of days," manager Ron Washington said.
Baker is an eight-year Major League veteran who spent 2005-11 as a member of the Twins rotation. He underwent Tommy John surgery in April of 2012 and did not return to the Major Leagues until late last season when he pitched in three games for the Cubs.
The Rangers signed him to a Minor League contract in Spring Training and he was 4-1 with a 3.32 ERA in six starts for Round Rock.
"It was obviously a long road," Baker said. "But I was really enjoying myself down there, it was a great group of guys. But everybody is striving to be here and it really makes it special when you endure something like this. Physically I feel as good as I ever have."
Baker, who is from Shreveport, could have become a free agent on May 1 since he was not added to the 25-man roster by that day. He said he elected to stay with the Rangers because it was close to home and he had made significant progress working with Triple-A pitching coach Brad Holman.
"It made no sense, even if there wasn't a Major League opportunity, to go anywhere else," Baker said. "This was the ideal situation."
Baker has made 162 Major League starts and four relief appearances with a record of 63-48 with a 4.14 ERA. He won a career-high 15 games with the Twins in 2009. But he will be used in relief with the Rangers.
Washington said there are no plans for Baker to replace Robbie Ross in the rotation. Ross is 0-3 with an 8.10 ERA in his last four starts.
"We haven't discussed moving anybody," Washington said.
Washington says Ogando throwing well
ARLINGTON -- Alexi Ogando had a rough outing on Tuesday night against the Rockies. He faced eight hitters and seven reached base on six hits and a walk. Ogando has allowed nine runs over 4 1/3 innings in his last five starts, but manager Ron Washington actually praised the way he threw on Tuesday night.
"Ogando is throwing the ball well," Washington said. "His velocity is good and his slider is sharp. Everything is location. He just has to get the ball in a better spot. To me last night he pitched in some bad luck, some balls falling in that could have been caught.
"He's healthy, he's throwing the ball well, the velocity is there. He just has to throw in better location and throw in better luck."
Ogando had 18 appearances going into Wednesday's games, the most in the American League. He was sixth in pitches thrown by a reliever and tied for 17th in relief innings.
"That's an excuse," Washington said of the heavy workload. "He has to do better."
Moreland fine after pitching
ARLINGTON -- Mitch Moreland wasn't in the lineup on Wednesday because a left-hander was on the mound for the Rockies. But the Rangers' first baseman/DH said he was fine physically after throwing 15 pitches in a scoreless relief inning against the Rockies on Tuesday night.
"I feel it in the back a little but my arm feels good," Moreland said.
Moreland pitched in college at Mississippi State and briefly during his Minor League career but this was his Major League debut on the mound. The Rangers were trailing 12-1 in the eighth when Moreland went in and retired the side in order.
"I had a blast," Moreland said. "Unfortunately the game went the way it did, but it was something I always wanted to do, something I had been begging for. I just tried to make the most of it."
Moreland threw 13 fastballs, one cut fastball and one changeup. He adhered to manager Ron Washington's strict orders not to throw breaking balls.
"I told him I was serious, just fastballs," Washington said. "But he had to cut one and he just had to try and throw one changeup."
Andrus continues climb up lineup
ARLINGTON -- Elvis Andrus continues to climb in the Rangers' lineup. Andrus, who dropped from No. 2 to the No. 9 spot on Sunday, was in the seventh hole on Wednesday. He batted eighth on Monday and Tuesday.
Andrus went into Wednesday 3-for-10 with two walks in his last three games since the demotion.
"It's getting better," manager Ron Washington said. "You can see him concentrating on his at-bats more and making sure he's not swinging at bad stuff. But he's not doing it naturally. We've got to get him back to the point where it just happens."
Michael Choice, who was in left field, was used in the No. 2 spot on Wednesday. He is the fourth different player used in that spot in the last four games. He follows Daniel Robertson, Josh Wilson and Leonys Martin.
With a left-hander on the mound for the Rockies, Washington also used second baseman Donnie Murphy in the No. 6 spot in the order. It's the eighth time Murphy has batted sixth in the order this season. He entered the game with a career .212 batting average and a .397 slugging percentage, not exactly the normal credentials for a No. 6 hitter in an American League lineup.
"Even though I have Donnie Murphy in the sixth spot, I still feel like we're going to win and Donnie Murphy is going to play a big part," Washington said. "No reservations about it."
• Pitcher Tanner Scheppers, on the disabled list with inflammation in his right elbow, is throwing long toss and the Rangers haven't decided when he'll go off a mound.
• Pitcher Joe Saunders, on the disabled list with a bruised left foot, said he is ready to return to the Rangers rotation after throwing 66 pitches over four innings for Double-A Frisco on Tuesday. But the Rangers have not made any decisions on if he'll need another medical rehab start or if he's ready to return to the rotation."
• Infielder Jurickson Profar, who has been sidelined since the end of Spring Training with a torn muscle in his right shoulder, has resumed throwing again and played catch on Wednesday. Profar has been having shoulder problems since the offseason but said, "I am a lot stronger than I was in Spring Training and I feel a lot better than any time in 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. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.