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Extra Bases: Ross, Scheppers improve pen

5/20/2014

ARLINGTON, Texas -- Both Tanner Scheppers and Robbie Ross pitched well enough in spring training -- and watched as other pitchers were ineffective or injured -- to earn spots in the Texas Rangers' starting rotation.

But neither was able to seize the job to the point they had staying power. That's not a bad thing for this club long-term this season. By moving Scheppers and Ross back to the bullpen, the club puts them in roles they are used to and improves the bullpen.

It does show that making that transition from the bullpen to the rotation is a challenge. In fact, the only guy to do it with a high level of success for a long period of time is C.J. Wilson. Alexi Ogando won 13 games and was an All-Star doing it, but he got fatigued at the end of the year and hasn't been able to replicate the magic.

Scheppers wants to start. But after a discussion with team officials, he knows he's needed in the bullpen and that he hasn't gotten the results as a starter so far. Scheppers is slated to pitch Saturday in Double-A Frisco on a rehab assignment. Since he's returning as a reliever, he doesn't need a bunch of outings or to pitch back-to-back before he's ready. So he could rejoin the team before they finish a long trip next week or shortly thereafter.

Ross goes to the bullpen immediately with Scott Baker replacing him in the rotation, starting Friday in Detroit. Baker gives the club more experience and allows Ross to pitch multiple innings, if needed, in the pen. For both pitchers, it's a chance to find some more confidence and get more comfortable. It gives manager Ron Washington more options when his starter is done too.

Martin fights to play, but loses: Washington wasn't going to take any chances with outfielder Leonys Martin, who arrived with a stiff neck and still wanted to play.

"Adrian Beltre is rubbing off on him," said Washington, alluding to the fact that Beltre never wants to take an off day. "But he looked terrible."

Martin walked into the clubhouse with ice wrapped around his neck and said he thought he'd be ready for Wednesday's game. It's an afternoon affair, so Washington may try to give his injured guys -- such as Martin and Prince Fielder -- another day off.

Long road trip ahead: After Wednesday's game, the Rangers go on a three-city, 11-day trip, the longest of the season. They'll play four in Detroit, four in Minnesota and three in Washington.

The club has some odd times, too. The Rangers have a day game at 12:08 p.m. CT on Thursday in Detroit, a 3:08 CT start on Saturday and they play two day games on Sunday (in Detroit) and Monday (in Minnesota) over Memorial Day weekend.