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MLB Team Report - Texas Rangers - INSIDE PITCH
To borrow from that greatest of '80s comedies, "Airplane," it looks like the Rangers picked the wrong week to have a bullpen crisis.
But here they are anyway.
On Sunday, the Rangers went through seven relievers in a 4-3, 13-inning loss at Seattle. It came on the eve of a day-night doubleheader at Arizona in which rookie Martin Perez will make his first major league start of the season. The possibilities for further bullpen issues are significant.
To top things off, the most significant pieces in the bullpen have all had heavy workloads recently. Closer Joe Nathan, who suffered his first blown save of the season Sunday when he allowed a game-tying homer to Raul Ibanez to start the 11th inning, has thrown on three consecutive days. He hasn't pitched four straight since 2009, when he was still just 34 and had not yet undergone Tommy John surgery.
"We're going to have to rest quickly and recover fast," Nathan said. "It's going to have to be all hands on board. This is no time for down time. Hopefully we get two nines from our starters, but you can't expect that, and we have to be ready. I'm not the only guy who has had a heavy load."
In addition to Nathan, Tanner Scheppers and Robbie Ross, the Rangers' top right-handed and left-handed setup options, respectively, have each thrown back-to-back days and have thrown at least 20 pitches once over the weekend. Lefty Neal Cotts, who has worked his way into a key piece less than a week after he returned to the big leagues for the first time since 2009, pitched 2 1/3 innings Sunday. It was the most he's pitched since 2005, long before his litany of injuries started.
"We will figure it out," said manager Ron Washington, who expressed doubt any roster moves would be made to enhance the pitching staff. "Now, we get to the weirdness of this schedule. We have to deal with it."
MLB Team Report - Texas Rangers - NOTES, QUOTES
STREAK: Lost one
PAST 10 GAMES: 6-4
NEXT: Rangers (Yu Darvish, 7-2, 2,84, and Martin Perez, 2013 debut) at Diamondbacks (Tyler Skaggs, 2013 debut, and Trevor Cahill, 3-5, 2.81)
--2B Jurickson Profar continues to shine in his first significant action with the Rangers. The 20-year-old rookie led off Sunday's game with a home run, becoming the youngest player since 1958 to open a game with a homer. It marked Profar's first game as a leadoff hitter this season, as he'd yet to bat higher than eighth in the order. Profar has now hit safely in five consecutive games and is batting .263 during his five-game stint as Ian Kinsler's fill-in.
--3B Adrian Beltre was in the lineup Sunday despite taking a foul ball off his knee the previous night. Beltre played all 13 innings against Seattle, going 1-for-5 with a double.
--DH Lance Berkman might see his first action in the field Monday, when Texas plays a doubleheader in Arizona. Berkman, who saw time at first base last season, has yet to see any defensive action in 2013.
--RHP Joe Nathan failed to convert a save opportunity for the first time in 17 chances this season. Seattle's Raul Ibanez hit Nathan's first pitch of the game into the seats for a leadoff homer in the 11th, tying the score 3-3. Nathan almost gave up the game-winning home run three batters later, but LF David Murphy went over the wall to rob Jason Bay of a solo shot.
--LF David Murphy finally cooled off in the batters' box Sunday, when he went 0-for-6, but he made one of the biggest plays of the game in the bottom of the 11th. Murphy tracked down a deep fly ball from Seattle's Jason Bay, then went over the wall with his glove to steal what would have been the game-winning home run. Murphy's catch kept the score 3-3, but the Rangers eventually lost 4-3 in 13 innings.
--2B Elvis Andrus was pretty active for what was supposed to be a day off Sunday. The Rangers' everyday leadoff hitter was not in the lineup, yet he was all over the basepaths when the game went to extra innings. Andrus singled and scored the go-ahead run in the top of the 11th, then he walked and stole a base in the 13th.
--LHP Martin Perez is scheduled to make his first start since last October when the Rangers play a doubleheader in Arizona on Monday. Perez, 22, started six games with Texas last season but suffered a fractured wrist in the spring. He's been pitching in Double-A and is expected to be called up before Monday's game, then will probably be sent down to Triple-A shortly thereafter.
--RHP Yu Darvish is scheduled to make his second career start against an NL team when the Rangers play the second game of a doubleheader at Arizona on Monday. Darvish gave up five hits and two runs over eight innings of work in his only other start against an NL team, beating the Padres 4-2 last June.
--RHP Alexi Ogando (biceps tendinitis) is scheduled to throw a rigorous bullpen session Monday. If that goes well, he could be activated from the disabled list next weekend without a rehab assignment.
--RHP Colby Lewis (right flexor tendon surgery in July 2012) continues to try to build arm strength, but his velocity is not getting higher than 87 mph on his rehab assignment. He pitched a season-high four innings Saturday for Triple-A Round Rock, and he gave up three runs on six hits in four innings. Lewis walked two and struck out two. Through three minor league starts (one for Double-A Frisco, two for Round Rock), Lewis is 0-1 with an 8.64 ERA.
--RHP Nick Tepesch, who missed his Wednesday start due to a blister, returned to action Sunday. He threw 5 2/3 innings at Seattle, allowing two runs on five hits. He fanned six and walked one in a no-decision.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "You can't control the way a baseball game goes, so we'll figure it out (Monday). Hopefully, (Monday starters Martin) Perez and (Yu) Darvish can give us nine innings in each game and everything works out good." -- Manager Ron Washington, after the Rangers used all but one available relief pitcher one day before a doubleheader at Arizona.
MLB Team Report - Texas Rangers - ROSTER REPORT
--RHP Nick Tepesch (blister) was scratched from his scheduled start May 22. He returned to the rotation May 26.
--RHP Alexi Ogando (right biceps tendinitis) went on the 15-day disabled list May 16. He underwent an MRI on May 16 that revealed no structural issues. He is scheduled to throw a rigorous bullpen session May 27. If that goes well, he could be activated from the disabled list during the weekend of May 31-June 2 without a rehab assignment.
--RHP Colby Lewis (right flexor tendon surgery in July 2012) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to March 22. He began throwing live batting practice April 8, and he pitched in extended spring training May 4. He began a rehab assignment with Triple-A Round Rock on May 9, but his rehab was then shut down due to triceps soreness. Lewis began a new rehab assignment with Double-A Frisco on May 20, and he started for Round Rock on May 25.
--2B Ian Kinsler (strained right intercostal muscle) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to May 18. The Rangers are hopeful he will be back after the minimum stay on the DL.
--LHP Matt Harrison (lower-back soreness) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to April 7, and he was transferred to the 60-day DL on May 25. He had surgery April 23 to repair a herniated disk. He underwent a second operation May 1.
--RHP Joakim Soria (Tommy John surgery in April 2012) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to March 22. He began throwing live batting practice April 8. Soria suffered a setback in his recovery when he strained a muscle in his chest throwing live batting practice on April 19 at the club's spring training facility in Surprise, Ariz. The Rangers hoped to have him back by early June, but instead won't get him back until July.
--RHP Neftali Feliz (Tommy John surgery in August 2012) went on the 60-day disabled list March 24. He is not expected to return until after the All-Star break.
RHP Yu Darvish
LHP Derek Holland
RHP Nick Tepesch
RHP Justin Grimm
LHP Martin Perez
RHP Joe Nathan (closer)
RHP Jason Frasor
LHP Michael Kirkman
LHP Robbie Ross
LHP Joe Ortiz
RHP Tanner Scheppers
LHP Neal Cotts
RHP Ross Wolf
1B Mitch Moreland
2B Leury Garcia
SS Elvis Andrus
3B Adrian Beltre
INF Jeff Baker
INF Jurickson Profar
LF David Murphy
CF Leonys Martin
RF Nelson Cruz
DH Lance Berkman
OF Craig Gentry