ARLINGTON, Texas -- The Texas Rangers have one of the top bullpens in the big leagues. But injuries have sidetracked that relief corps over the past week. And if you need any proof of how important those late-inning arms are, consider that in a tie game Saturday against the Seattle Mariners, manager Ron Washington had to go with Tanner Scheppers in the eighth because he needed to save Alexi Ogando for the ninth as his closer.
That's what happens when closer Joe Nathan is out after pitching three straight days and needing a break and Mike Adams is sidelined with tightness in his trapezius muscle (in the back of his shoulder).
But things are looking up as the club has an off day today and heads to Anaheim for three against the Angels. Here's the bullpen update:
* Nathan should be ready to go on Tuesday after getting the past few days off. He said he isn't sure if what he's experiencing is just a slight dead-arm stretch or that the workload got to him. But he pitched three days in a row and four of the last five before getting the break.
"Either way, I'll have to pitch through it," Nathan said. "It's good to get a mini-break and then get back at it."
Nathan blew his first save in more than five months last week but says his confidence level is high and he's looking forward to the final two weeks of the season.
* Adams was given Sunday off to rest his shoulder one more day. But he expects to throw Tuesday. We'll see if he's used that quickly, but he should be a part of the bullpen in the next few days. Adams said the shoulder felt better on Sunday.
* Koji Uehara is proving to be a vital reliever, particularly against left-handed pitching. His splitter is working well and he showed he could pitch in four straight games last week.
* Robbie Ross was activated Saturday and gives the bullpen another weapon. He said the rest the last few weeks has been good for him and he's excited about the pennant race.
* Wilmer Font and Justin Grimm were recalled Saturday night. Washington said Font would pitch in low-pressure situations as he eases in. Grimm gives the club another arm that can go multiple innings.
But with two weeks left, the Rangers need a full bullpen ready to go, particularly the arms they've relied on all season.
Do the Rangers have the best bullpen in the AL?