Holland made his sixth and final rehab start on Thursday night for Triple-A Round Rock, to test his control, make sure his back and knee were fine and to build more arm strength.
Holland lasted 5 2/3 innings, allowing four runs, three earned as he threw 98 pitches. He said this was his best outing, overall, however, his manager wasn't that impressed with his six rehab efforts.
“Yeah, I guess it is,” Ron Washington said when asked was Holland’s rehab outings deemed just ok. “Me personally, I wanted him to dominate, I think he’s that good. He did ok. “
Between Round Rock and one outing at Double-A Frisco, Holland compiled a 4.43 ERA and allowed 10 earned runs in 20 1/3 innings of work.
Holland missed the start of the season when he needed left knee surgery after suffering an injury while tripping over his dog in his house.
After proving he could pitch without leg issues, Holland missed a rehab start last Sunday with back spasms. With the Rangers expanding the rosters with September call ups, it’s only a natural Holland gets an opportunity to get a few starts.
“It’s been a long process,” he said. “Obviously longer than what we expected. But at the same time, it was more of if we were in the pennant race, maybe we should have been back sooner. I can’t dictate that. My job is to go out there and compete and show them that I can perform and that I’m ready to go.”
Choice tries to get going: Michael Choice was fantastic in spring training.
He did what you’re supposed to do: win a spot on the roster.
Choice had a problem once the season started, he couldn’t hit and was demoted to Triple-A Round Rock on July 7. He's returned and in the last three games is hitless in 10 at bats.
On the season, Choice is hitting .168 with a .242 OBP.
“Things are a lot different for me now,” said Choice, an Arlington native. “No. 1, I’m a lot more relaxed and I know what to expect and I’m just trying to get as many good at bats as I can.”
The Rangers haven’t run out of patience.
“We just want to give Michael a chance to settle in,” Washington said. “It was his third game back, Mike might be a little bit shaky.”
Base Hits: RF Jim Adduci wasn’t at the ballpark on Friday as he deals with a concussion. … 1B Ryan Rua, who was called up on Friday, will play first base and outfield for the Rangers. Washington said Rua’s best position is second base followed by third. Rua said he carries three gloves with him. … Friday will be Scott Baker’s last outing as a starter because he’ll move back to long relief to accommodate Holland’s return to the rotation.
HOUSTON -- The old baseball adage is that you can't tell the players without a program. For the Texas Rangers, there may be a little truth to it, as Ryan Rua will become the team's 59th player this season, tying a major league record.
Rua, a rookie first baseman/outfielder, was promoted when outfielder Jim Adduci was placed on the seven-day concussion disabled list. Rua is scheduled to play in Friday night's game against the Houston Astros.
The Rangers will likely break the record, as left-handed starter Derek Holland, who has been out the entire season while recovering from knee surgery, is close to coming off the disabled list.
Major league teams also conduct their September call-ups next week.
Adduci hit his head on the warning track and against the wall while making a sliding catch in the fourth inning of Thursday's 4-2 loss to the Astros.
To make room for Rua, the Rangers released right-handed reliever Phil Irwin.
Rua went 4-for-5 with four RBIs for Triple-A Round Rock on Thursday. He was hitting .405 with eight RBIs over the last nine games.
Adduci hit his head making a sliding catch in the fourth inning of Thursday night's loss to the Houston Astros. Adduci hit his head twice, on the track and against the wall.
Adduci was replaced on the active roster by first baseman/outfielder Ryan Rua, who was promoted from Triple-A Round Rock.
Rua, who's in Friday's lineup and batting fifth, will become the 59th player used by the Rangers this season, tying the major-league record for players used in a single season.
San Diego (2002 and 2008) and Cleveland (2002) are the other teams to have done it.
To make room for Rua, the Rangers released right-handed reliever Phil Irwin.
Rua went 4-for-5 with four RBIs in Thursday night's game for Triple-A Round Rock. Rua was hitting .405 with eight RBIs the last nine games.
Holland pitched 5 2/3 innings, allowing four runs -- three earned -- against Nashville. Holland, who threw 98 pitches, gave up two, two-out home runs in his outing.
Holland missed his last outing with back spasms, which he said didn't pose a problem for him Thursday night. He's missed the entire season while recovering from left knee surgery.
The knee hasn't been a problem for Holland, who has been moving well toward first base when he needs to field his position, and now he's ready to pitch with the big club.
"I felt good," Holland said. "I think the big thing was to just test my back and make sure everything was OK with that from there. I felt good and continue to pound the zone and just getting myself ready, that's the main thing. Just to get back to make sure I'm ready to go."
When Holland will pitch for the Rangers hasn't been determined. He will be with the Rangers on Friday when they continue their 10-game road trip through Houston and he could be on the mound when the club visits Kansas City for three games early next week.
There is no rush at this stage for Holland to pitch, other than to prove to the front office that he's healthy after major knee surgery. It's just one more thing GM Jon Daniels can cross off his list of things to worry about heading into the offseason.
"This is what I've been working for," Holland said of returning. "I wanted to show people I can get back up there and I'm ready to go and I've been working my butt off to get back there, whether the season has been good or not, my main focus is just being a part of the team."
After Thursday night, Tepesch has given up eight runs in his last two outings. He wasn't the pitcher of record in the 4-2 loss to the Astros, that was reliever Roman Mendez, but Tepesch had some responsibility in the loss.
"He was laboring and he had to trouble from pitch one and in every inning he was in trouble," manager Ron Washington said. "That inning, right there we got to the middle of the order there and just felt like we needed to try and shut that inning down and Mendez just couldn’t get that done."
Tepesch (4.44 ERA in 18 games) had just one lone 1-2-3 inning, the first, and as Washington noted, everything was a struggle. In the decisive fifth inning, he allowed a one-out hit and a one-out walk before Washington yanked him for Mendez, one of his more reliable relief pitchers.
Tepesch watched as Mendez allowed an infield hit then a grand slam to Jason Castro that gave the Astros a 4-2 lead.
"It was long innings, just no clean innings, really," said Tepesch, who threw 89 pitches. "A lot of pitches per inning, it's tough to pitch deep into games when you throw so many pitches."
One of the few bright spots on this Texas Rangers team, Beltre pulled his bats out of their bag while downplaying the second biggest race this team will deal with in the next 30 days or so: the AL batting title.
Outside of the Silver Boot and avoiding the worst record in baseball, Beltre is competing with Houston's Jose Altuve and Detroit's Victor Martinez for the batting crown.
Individual titles and other accomplishments mean little to Beltre, who finished his evening 1-for-4 with two strikeouts in a 4-2 loss to the Astros.
Beltre came in to the game all alone in third place in hitting; now he's tied for third with Robinson Cano of Seattle with a .325 average. Martinez is second at .327 and Altuve -- with his fifth-inning single -- remains in the lead at .332.
Beltre would welcome a first batting crown of his career but doesn't cherish it.
“What is good about this year?” he asked. “I don’t look at it that way. I’m just glad not being one of those guys that got hurt. It’s been so bad that I think that anybody who is healthy is lucky this year. Everything is going south for us, but I don’t look at it as a personal thing. I’m just glad to be out there to contribute and help our team find a way to win ballgames. I’m still trying not to be in last place in this division.”
Injuries have decimated the Rangers this season.
It’s gotten so bad that Yu Darvish, their ace and the best thing going for this team, is out with right elbow inflammation. His season is probably over now, as it should be.
Beltre's season continues as he watches regulars Alex Rios (ankle and thumb) and Elvis Andrus deal with nagging injuries. Shin-Soo Choo is done because he’ll undergo elbow surgery on Friday to remove a bone chip. Choo played the bulk of the season with a sprained ankle, as well.
“Yeah, it’s true, a couple of guys been playing through tough injuries,” Beltre said. “Rios has been playing with ankle and hand injuries; Choo was playing with a bad ankle. For the most part, I’ve been good enough and healthy to be out there every day. Every year through a season, as a player, we always find a way to be out there. Some [injuries] are more difficult to play with. Rios’ is very difficult to play with. He’s trying to battle through it, and we appreciate that. But at the same time, he’s the type of guy who likes to be out there and likes to prove to his teammates that he wants to be out there.”
The batting lineup hasn't provided Beltre much protection. Prince Fielder (neck) and Mitch Moreland (ankle) are done for the season. Rios is having a down season, numbers wise, and GM Jon Daniels is doing all he can to keep this thing together. He’s formulating his plan to improve the club in 2015, and there’s a confidence level he can.
“Besides the difference in protection, the lineup we might have if everybody was healthy and different guys in front of me or behind me hitting, it’s the same stuff,” Beltre said. “I’d still have to do my job every day. It doesn’t matter what the situation [is]; when I’m at home plate, I want to beat the pitcher.
"Because we don’t have the team we’re supposed to have and everything is not going the way we want this year, I’m not going to home plate trying to get an out. It’s not going to happen. I have a job. I don’t think it’s an excuse not to compete well because the team is not doing well.”
HOUSTON -- It was one of those situations when Texas Rangers manager Ron Washington needed to see a few things from his pitchers.
He wanted consistency from 25-year-old starter Nick Tepesch and to check out how 24-year-old reliever Roman Mendez dealt with some adversity.
Each failed Thursday night, as the Rangers' two-game winning streak ended in a 4-2 defeat to the Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park.
Tepesch was pulled with one out and two on in the fifth inning after throwing 89 pitches, and Mendez was asked to clean up the mess. Mendez couldn’t and sealed his own fate, as well as that of the Rangers, by allowing a grand slam to Jason Castro for Castro's 13th home run of the season.
You could debate Washington's move to take out Tepesch, who didn't seem happy to come out, and bring in Mendez.
At times you need to find something out about your young players, and this is what Washington is doing.
How it happened? The Rangers gave Tepesch a 2-0 lead when Leonys Martin scored on a Mike Carp double play in the first and Robinson Chirinos came in on Carp’s sacrifice fly out in the third.
Tepesch couldn’t maintain the lead and the young pitcher got into trouble in the fifth. After a one-out hit to Jose Altuve, he walked Chris Carter and Washington had seen enough.
Mendez didn’t have his best stuff and Dexter Fowler reached on a slow roller to short. Adrian Beltre, who moved over from third to field the ball could have let shortstop Elvis Andrus make a play on it. It didn’t matter, because Castro sent a shot to right that gave the Astros a 4-2 lead. It was just the second homer allowed by Mendez this season.
Adduci leaves with injury: Right fielder Jim Adduci left the game in the fourth inning with an apparent head/neck injury. Adduci made a wonderful, running catch in foul territory in right. Adduci flipped over second baseman Rougned Odor as he made the catch, and his head hit the track then slammed into the padded wall. Adduci, who went 0-for-2, left on his own power. Team officials said he will be further evaluated.
Mendez has a rough night: Mendez entered the game having allowed no runs in his last seven innings, a span of eight games that lowered his ERA to 1.23. He started his career with eight scoreless appearances, tying a club record set by Alexi Ogando. Left-handed hitters were just 5-for-35 against Mendez until Castro homered off him in the fifth. Mendez did retire the next two lefties, Marc Krauss and Jon Singleton. It was an uneven performance for Mendez, who has been very good this season. He allowed two runs on two hits with one walk and two strikeouts in 1 2/3 innings.
What’s up with the crowd? It was a sparse crowd at the start of Thursday’s game. With the Houston Texans playing their final preseason game against the San Francisco 49ers and Texas A&M playing its SEC opener at South Carolina, there were plenty of seats available at Minute Maid Park. The lower bowl wasn’t even half full and the final tally came in at 16,399. It wasn’t the smallest crowd of the season at Minute Maid Park, but it sure looked that way for a while.
What’s next? RHP Scott Baker (2-3, 5.45) vs. LHP Brett Oberholtzer (4-9, 4.01) face each other Friday night at 7:10 CT. Baker has won games in his last two appearances, one relief and one starting, after the Rangers had gone 0-20 in games he pitched.
McHugh (7-9) earned his third straight win, allowing two runs and eight hits while striking out six.
In his six August starts, McHugh gave up eight runs over 37 2/3 innings.
Castro snapped an 0-for-20 slump with a single in the second. In the fifth, he wiped out Texas' 2-0 lead.
Jose Altuve singled in the Houston fifth and Chris Carter walked, finishing starter Nick Tepesch. Dexter Fowler reached on an infield single to set up Castro's second career grand slam, a drive off Ramon Mendez (0-1).
Holland, who threw 98 pitches, gave up two two-out home runs, a solo shot to Jeremy Hermida and a two-run blast to Matt Pagnozzi.
Before the game, manager Ron Washington told Holland he expected him to dominate.
Holland, who is expected to join the Rangers on Friday, most likely will be activated to the big league roster next week in Kansas City. It's still uncertain if he will pitch when the Rangers head to Kansas City.
Washington said a discussion with GM Jon Daniels and pitching coach Mike Maddux needs to occur before any announcements can be made.
Batting leadoff in Wednesday's game at Seattle, Martin went 3-for-5 with a two-run home run and two runs scored.
Manager Ron Washington isn't committing to Martin as his full-time leadoff man with Shin-Soo Choo out for the season with a bone spur in his left elbow, but he liked what he saw, at least for one night.
"If Martin swings at strikes, he has tremendous hand eye coordination," Washington said. "That’s where he needs to get to -- trust he can see it and trust he can hit it. He has his best days when he swings at strikes."
As a leadoff man, Martin has a slash line of .326/.415/.478 with a OPS of .893 with six runs and seven walks.
Washington has used four different players in the leadoff spot in 2014 and most likely won't insert Martin against left-handers. Daniel Robertson will continue to maintain that role.
In the last 14 games, Martin is hitting .440 and has reached safely by hit or walk in 13 consecutive starts.
Holland needs to dominate: Left-handed starter Derek Holland will make his final rehab outing Thursday night for Triple-A Round Rock. Washington had one message for Holland, who is 1-1 with a 4.30 ERA in five outings between Round Rock and Double-A Frisco: "Dominate."
Holland reiterated to Washington that he expects to do just that. After Thursday's outing, Holland most likely will get called up to the big league club, but it's uncertain when he'll pitch again. Holland will join the team here Friday and travel with them to Kansas City to conclude the 10-game road trip. Holland could pitch in the Royals series or when the club returns home Sept. 4 against Seattle.
"Let him pitch tonight and then we’ll answer that," Washington said. "When we get here tomorrow, I’ll get with (pitching coach) Mike Maddux and we’ll have more information."
Minor league update: The Texas League announced Frisco 1B Trever Adams, 3B Joey Gallo and utility man Odubel Herrera were named to the postseason team. Jason Wood was named Manager of the Year, Jeff Andrews Pitching Coach of the Year and Mike Coolbaugh the Coach of the year. Gallo hit his 41st homer Wednesday night, tying him with Spokane's Tom Robson with the most ever by a Rangers minor leaguer. Robson set his mark in 1974. Gallo has also been named a Carolina League postseason All-Star and the Player of the Year. Before being promoted to Double-A, Gallo hit 21 home runs and became the first player since Ron Kittle, in 1981-1982, to hit 40 home runs in back-to-back minor league seasons. He's second in the minors in home runs and third with a .621 slugging percentage.
Injury update: RF Alex Rios (swollen right thumb) missed Thursday's game but is expected to play Friday. Rios said he can still bend his thumb and that it hampers his swing. ... Choo will undergo surgery Friday in Dallas. His season is over. ... There is no update on RHP Yu Darvish and whether he'll undergo a MRI to check on the inflammation in his right elbow. Darvish's season most likely is over, though the club hasn't announced it yet.
Here’s a preview:
What’s up with the Astros?: Houston fell 5-4 to Oakland on Wednesday, blowing a 3-2 lead when they allowed three in the ninth inning. Houston, however, has won 14 games in the last at-bat this season with DH Chris Carter hitting four home runs in those games. Carter (33 home runs and 78 RBIs) leads the majors in HR (12) and RBIs (29) in August. 2B Jose Altuve leads the majors with 181 hits. His slash line is .332/.370/.435. C Jason Castro is 4-for-8 with two RBI against Friday starter Nick Tepesch. The Astros have lost four of five games.
What’s up with the Rangers?: They are a pretty good tear, considering where this team sits in the standings. The Rangers have won three of their last four games and are 2-1 to start this road trip. C Tomas Telis is off to a strong start since his promotion from Triple-A Round Rock. He’s 3-for-8 with three RBIs and two runs scored in the two games he’s played. LF Michael Choice is 0-for-7 with a one run in the two games he’s been here. SS Elvis Andrus has four hits in his last 27 at-bats. 3B Adrian Beltre has had multiple-hit games in six of his last eight contests and has 18 hits in the last 10 games. The Rangers are 21-31 against the AL West.
Derek Holland gets going: Left-handed starter Derek Holland is scheduled to pitch in Round Rock on Thursday night in his final rehab start. If Holland doesn’t encounter any problems, expect him to move to the big club when the rosters expand next week. Holland hasn’t pitched this season for the Rangers as he recovers from knee surgery.
Pitching matchups: Thursday: RHP Nick Tepesch (4-8, 4.45) vs. RHP Collin McHugh (6-9, 3.02); Friday: TBA vs. LHP Brett Oberholtzer (4-9, 4.01); Saturday: RHP Miles Mikolas (2-5, 6.44) vs. RHP Scott Feldman (7-10, 4.34); Sunday: RHP Nick Martinez (3-10, 5.31) vs. LHP Dallas Keuchel (10-9, 3.05).
Erasmo Ramirez (1-6), recalled from Triple-A Tacoma for the start, allowed 10 runs and nine hits in three-plus innings. Seattle, which began the day a half-game ahead of Detroit for the second AL wild-card spot, had been the only major league team not to allow 10 or more runs in a game this season.
Lewis (9-11) allowed seven hits, struck out seven and walked one in his second complete game of the season and second in August. He had been 0-3 since pitching a five-hit shutout at the Chicago White Sox on Aug. 5.
Texas, a big league-worst 52-80, won a series for only the third time since the All-Star break. The Rangers took two of three from the Yankees from July 28-30 and also at the Chicago White Sox from Aug. 4-6.
Paxton threw a career-high 118 pitches and came an out away from tying his career high with seven innings pitched. The rookie lowered his ERA to 1.71, the best mark for a pitcher in his first 11 major league starts since 1990.
Cano's towering two-out home run in the first opened the scoring and was his 71st RBI of the year.
Texas starter Nick Martinez struggled through five innings, allowing five runs on six hits and four walks.
While a pitcher's arm is a precious commodity, position players deal with issues as well. Shin-Soo Choo and Alex Rios have played through sprained ankles of late. Choo has dealt with that ailment since April. Choo also played through a bone spur in his left elbow; the pain finally became too great, so he’s set to undergo season-ending surgery.
You should have seen Elvis Andrus on Sunday before the Rangers headed for Seattle. The Rangers' starting shortstop had both wrists wrapped in ice. Pitchers regularly walk around the clubhouse with ice packs strapped to their arms -- it's all a part of baseball.
Darvish could have handled things differently regarding his stint on the disabled list.
Instead of electing to go on the DL, he probably should have asked for some rest -- because the Rangers would have given it to him. General manager Jon Daniels made the correct call in sitting Darvish, but perhaps the ace should have delayed the DL process a little bit.
Darvish most likely would miss two to three starts before being asked to do anything. If he was still having issues, then he would have been placed on the DL.
Darvish going on the shelf without waiting to see how he felt after a little time off raises some questions and some perception issues.
I look at left-hander Derek Holland's situation and his comments.
Holland could have taken the year off as he recovers from left knee surgery. But Holland has been consistent in his statements that he wants to pitch for his teammates, regardless of how the Rangers' season is going.
“I want to be out there for them,” Holland said.
Pitching injured and pitching through discomfort are two different things. Darvish is not injured. He’s got discomfort, and the Rangers are being cautious with the 28-year-old.
No problem with that.
I just wish Darvish had waited a little while before going on the DL, because you don’t want to come across as quitting on your team.
You could say the season doesn’t mean anything, so what’s the big deal?
You would be correct.
Manager Ron Washington disagrees with you, because the games will go on. Yes, you want to get a handle on younger players such as Tomas Telis, the rookie catcher who picked up his first big league hit Monday night in Seattle, but you also want to make sure the core of your team is committed long term.
Washington himself created a stir about Darvish when he said that everybody encounters inflammation, and that he expected the ace to return. Washington has backed tracked on these statements in recent days and Daniels says everybody is on the same page. Daniels said Monday if anybody had a problem with Darvish wanted to move to the DL they should have spoken up, then, not now.
Darvish is the best pitcher on this team and among the best in baseball. You don't want to place him at risk for further injury.
Darvish, I believe, is committed to the Rangers. I just wish his approach had been a little different.