8/12/2014 1:09 A.M. ET
Tolleson gets pitch count down
By T.R. Sullivan / MLB.com
ARLINGTON -- Rangers reliever Shawn Tolleson threw two scoreless innings in Sunday's 6-2 win over the Astros. He only needed 24 pitches to do it, 12 in each inning.
"It's something you strive for but not something you work on other than throwing strikes," Tolleson said. "That's what it comes down to."
It was an important moment for Tolleson, who has quietly had a nice season for the Rangers after missing almost all of last season because of back surgery and then being claimed off waivers from the Dodgers in the off-season. He has a 3.13 ERA in 47 games and opponents are hitting .216 off him.
The Rangers' biggest concern with Tolleson is he throws too many pitches per inning and ends up lasting just one inning. Sunday marked only the fifth time this season he has pitched two complete innings and first time since June 25.
"That was awesome … that [outing] was as clean and crisp as I've seen from him," manager Ron Washington said.
The Rangers are hoping Roman Mendez can be a multiple-innings pitcher. But he needed 24 pitches to get through his one inning of work on Sunday. The Rangers are hoping that both Tolleson and Mendez can develop into reliable multiple-inning pitchers for them.
"You'd certainly like to have that flexibility," Washington said. "At times they do that, sometimes they get erratic with their command. Mendez, this is the first time he has been healthy, so it's understandable he gets erratic. Tolleson is just coming off an injury too."
Rios out of lineup, but he should return soon
ARLINGTON -- Alex Rios was out of the lineup on Monday after aggravating his sprained right ankle with a slide into home plate. But he shouldn't be out much longer.
Rios underwent an MRI on Monday and results showed only a slight sprain, and the outfielder could play as early as Tuesday night. Rios injured the ankle on July 19 against the Rays and has been dealing with it ever since.
"It's still sore a little bit," Rios said. "Hopefully, I don't have to miss any more time. I'm optimistic about it. We've come through many injuries. I'm experiencing one myself. I wouldn't call it an injury, call it pain. It is frustrating to go through all these things, plus the season we're going through is not easy to swallow."
The biggest concern is if Rios will be dealing with the ankle problem the rest of the season. Outfielder Shin-Soo Choo has been dealing with a sprained left ankle since mid-April and has not been 100 percent since then.
"This is something I guess I'm going to have to deal with throughout the year," Rios said. "I don't like missing time. I like to be on the field."
Feliz rebounding from blown save
ARLINGTON -- Neftali Feliz was sharp for the second straight outing since his blown save against the Indians, needing just six pitches to retire the side in the ninth inning and closing out the Rangers' 6-2 win over the Astros on Sunday.
Feliz's fastball was 92-93 mph, but he also retired one hitter with his breaking ball. Feliz also had a save on Wednesday in Houston, his first opportunity since blowing a save against the Indians on Aug. 3.
"I'm just working on keeping my pitches down and throwing strikes," Feliz said. "I'm not focused on velocity and speed, just on what is working that particular day."
Feliz spent the first half of the season at Triple-A Round Rock finishing off his recovery from Tommy John surgery, building arm strength and refining his mechanics. He was brought to the big leagues on July 4 and regained the closer's role on July 23 when Joakim Soria was traded to Detroit. Feliz has a 2.81 ERA, opponents are hitting .151 off him and he was 4-for-5 in save opportunities going into Monday's game against the Rays.
"I feel better and the more I throw, the better I am going to feel," Feliz said. "I feel comfortable. I know I can close games. I feel more relaxed and have confidence I can do the job."
• Derek Holland's fourth start on his medical rehabilitation assignment is scheduled for Thursday at Triple-A Round Rock. Holland isn't sure yet how many pitches he'll throw. but it will probably be in the 60 to 70 range.
• First baseman/outfielder Mike Carp is available after missing Sunday with a tight groin muscle. He was not in the lineup on Monday because a left-hander was on the mound for the Rays.
• When Colby Lewis started on Wednesday night, it marked the 36th straight game started by a right-hander for the Rangers. That's the longest such streak for the Rangers since 2007. The Rangers haven't had a left-hander start since Joe Saunders on June 30.
• Infielder Jurickson Profar, who has been sidelined since Spring Training with a torn muscle in his right shoulder, has been cleared to start a throwing program.
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.