Buzz: DH spot continues to rotate

September, 10, 2013
9/10/13
6:22
PM CT
ARLINGTON, Texas -- Jurickson Profar and Lance Berkman have started half of the Rangers' last 10 games at designated hitter. Neither was in Tuesday's starting lineup against Pittsburgh.

That fell to 27-year-old Joey Butler, who appeared in his fifth major league game in the middle of a hotly contested division race. He's the fifth DH that manager Ron Washington has used in the last 10 games -- other than Profar and Berkman -- as the skipper searches for a hot hitter while using the DH spot to rest some of his regulars.

Butler got the call because he can hit left-handers, manager Ron Washington said before Tuesday's game.

Butler had a .877 OPS against lefties this season for Triple-A Round Rock. Butler has three hits, including two doubles, in five at-bats with the Rangers all against southpaws.

The switch-hitting Profar is batting .194 against lefties. Berkman's hip and knee problems have made him ineffective against lefties. He's batting .233 against them.

This isn't a signal that Profar can't hit lefties. He's just adjusting to big league pitching.

"He's been successful as a switch hitter in his young career," Washington said. "It's just so tough at the major league level to keep both sides going. Ask the more experienced switch hitters how tough it is. And here's this young kid doing it. You can imagine what it's like."

Berkman, still listed as a switch hitter on the lineup card, isn't expect to face left-handed starters for the foreseable future. His issues with his surgically-repaired right knee make it difficult for him to generate bat speed and power from that side of the plate.

So the opening was there Tuesday for Butler, who showed in his first stint with the Rangers on August that he'll use the whole field. Both of his doubles were to the opposite field down the right-field line. That should give Butler some confidence.

"It can always carry over," Butler said. "I'll just try to stay within myself and have the same approach. I don't know if my approach will carry over. Just get a good pitch and swing at it."

The Rangers have scored 2.9 runs per game in this 10-game stretch. Washington is looking for anything to ingnite his offense, especially at a spot in the lineup like DH tht is usually reserved for run producers.

"We'll give him a shot at it," Washington said of Butler. "He might be the lightning in the bottle I'm looking for."

Garza must minimize: Matt Garza's inconsistent nine starts with the Rangers reached a frustrating level in his last start Friday against the Los Angeles Angels, when he allowed five runs in the fourth inning after being staked to a 3-0 lead.

The task for Garza is to cut that inning off at two runs. He allowed five of the first six batters to get a hit, the last one Mark Trumbo's three-run home run to give the Angels the lead.

Otherwise, Garza was brilliant, pitching seven innings for the seventh time in nine starts. The answer to Garza's struggles, Washington said, is easy.

"Minimize the damage, that's all," Washington said.

Adduci has a false alarm: Outfielder Jim Adduci said his strained right biceps was much better Tuesday. He went through batting practice fine and was available as a pinch hitter.

Adduci came out of Monday night's game after his second at-bat.

"It was just an awkward experience for me," Adduci said. "Something I've never experienced before. I kept trying to squeeze my hand but (the feeling) wouldn't come back. I was more scared than anything."

Fifth starter update: The fifth starter for Tuesday at Tampa Bay is tentatively set to be Nick Tepesch, but Washington said that could changed.

Tepesch wasn't available in the bullpen Tuesday night, but Ogando was ready to go. Still, the Rangers could decide to start Ogando again this season.

"As we look forward, we'll see what matchups are better," Washington said. "If we feel a matchup is better for Ogando, we'll give him a start. We'll put him on a pitch limit."

Ogando is 1-1 with a 3.68 ERA for nine games/two starts against Tampa Bay. He has only pitched in relief at Tropicana Field, allowing a run in three innings.

Short hops: The Rangers' only four wins from starters over the last 18 games have come from Martin Perez (three) and Travis Blackley entering Tuesday's game ... The Rangers are 18-for-18 on stolen base attempts since Elvis Andrus was caught on Aug. 26 in Seattle.

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TEAM LEADERS

WINS LEADER
Colby Lewis
WINS ERA SO IP
10 5.12 123 158
OTHER LEADERS
BAA. Beltre .322
HRA. Beltre 18
RBIA. Beltre 71
RA. Beltre 73
OPSA. Beltre .873
ERAC. Lewis 5.12
SOY. Darvish 182