Darren Oliver, Arthur Rhodes OK closing

April, 23, 2011
4/23/11
6:38
PM CT
ARLINGTON, Texas -- There isn't much Darren Oliver and Arthur Rhodes haven't seen or experienced in 38 combined years in Major League Baseball. Closing, however, has never been a fulltime job for either of the veteran lefthanders.

The closer role could be thrust on either of the setups relievers with All-Star closer Neftali Feliz going on the 15-day DL with shoulder inflammation. Both Oliver (2.16 ERA) and Rhodes (3.00 ERA) say they're ready to do what's needed.

"This isn't going to change our roles," Rhodes said. "Eighth inning and the ninth inning is about the same thing. Nefty is out, so we've got to step up our role and do what we've been doing."

Oliver added: "We have to do it for the next two weeks. That's really it. He's out. I guess it will be closer by committee."

Rangers manager Ron Washington did make it clear that he's not counting on one member of the bullpen, at least not now, to step up exclusively for Feliz. Darren O'Day, Dave Bush, Pedro Strop, Brett Tomko and rookie Cody Epply are also options.

"You're always going to go with the veterans first," Washington said, "but if one of the veterans aren't available, it'll be somebody else."

Rhodes and Oliver both said they wouldn't vary their routines or approach to the game, no matter what inning they're called upon. Rhodes did finally concede that there is something different about the ninth.

"When the game is on line in the ninth inning with [a one-run lead], you've got to go out there and get three outs," he said. "You can't go out there and mess around. It might be Darren and it might be me."
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TEAM LEADERS

BA LEADER
Adrian Beltre
BA HR RBI R
.324 19 77 79
OTHER LEADERS
HRA. Beltre 19
RBIA. Beltre 77
RA. Beltre 79
OPSA. Beltre .879
WC. Lewis 10
ERAC. Lewis 5.18
SOY. Darvish 182