Buzz: Rangers leaning left in bullpen

May, 22, 2013
5/22/13
12:31
PM CT
ARLINGTON, Texas -- The Rangers' bullpen is left-handed dominant -- at least for Wednesday's game against Oakland.

Needing to clear a roster spot for Wednesday's starter Ross Wolf, the Rangers optioned right-handed reliever Cory Burns, who has been with the team for six days, to Triple-A Round Rock.

That leaves the club with four lefties in the pen: Neal Cotts, who arrived Tuesday and pitched a shutout inning and is the hottest Rangers reliever outside of Tanner Scheppers, Robbie Ross, Joe Nathan, Michael Kirkman and Joseph Ortiz.

Jason Frasor, Scheppers and Nathan are the right-handed options for manager Ron Washington, who said this will be the setup for the Rangers for now.

"It's not a handicap," Washington said. "Cotts has good stuff and he's healthy. He's throwing good."

Cotts, who had 42 strikeouts in 29 innings for Round Rock, fanned one Oakland batter in a perfect ninth inning with the Rangers trailing 1-0. Pitching in the big leagues for the first time since 2009, Cotts won't be treated like a left-handed specialist.

"He can pitch multiple innings if needed," Washington said.

Rotation matters: The Rangers still plan to go with Justin Grimm, Derek Holland and Nick Tepesch for the weekend series against Seattle. That's provided Tepesch's blister on his right middle finger heals in time for Sunday's start.

Yu Darvish will pitch the first game of the split doubleader Monday at Arizona. Ross Wolf is in the rotation now, and would be pitching on four days rest Monday, so he could get the start in the night game of the twinbill against the Diamondbacks.

Left-hander Martin Perez, who threw seven shutout innings for Triple-A Round Rock on Tuesday night, may not be an option, even though he only allowed three hits, didn't walk anyone and had seven strikeouts. Perez threw 77 pitches, so he may not be stretched out enough.

Kinsler update: Second baseman Ian Kinsler didn't have much to say Wednesday about the right intercostal strain that has him on the 15-day disabled list. Kinsler is eligible to be re-instated on June 2. "I'm anticipating it," he said.

Moreland sits against A's: Washington gave first baseman Mitch Moreland the day off Wednesday, saying he's a "little fatigued." Thursday's off day makes it a two-day break for Moreland.

It speaks volumes that Washington didn't wait until Friday when the Rangers face Seattle left-hander Joe Saunders to sit Moreland, who is batting .343 for his last 18 games but had three strikeouts in Tuesday's 1-0 loss.

"Maybe going against a left-hander will get him locked in," Washington said.

Inept offense: For the second time this season, the Rangers failed to have a plate appearance with a runner in scoring position in Monday's 1-0 loss (the other was April 18 against the Chicago Cubs).

That happened once from 2010-12 -- last September against the Los Angeles Angels.

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TEAM LEADERS

WINS LEADER
Colby Lewis
WINS ERA SO IP
10 5.34 126 163
OTHER LEADERS
BAA. Beltre .327
HRA. Beltre 18
RBIA. Beltre 75
RA. Beltre 77
OPSA. Beltre .886
ERAC. Lewis 5.34
SOY. Darvish 182