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Friday, April 1, 2011
Washington to mix, match veterans in 8th

By Richard Durrett

ARLINGTON, Texas -- Rangers manager Ron Washington doesn't really have an eighth-inning setup guy in his bullpen. He's hoping he has several.

The manager said a few hours before the first pitch of Opening Day that he will "mix and match" his veterans. That means if the game is close late today, expect to see lefties Darren Oliver or Athur Rhodes or right-hander Darren O'Day. That makes O'Day the primary right-handed eighth-inning guy for now.

Washington said that Mason Tobin will get in the game in low-pressure situations as a means of easing him in. Mark Lowe and Pedro Strop will "get more innings as we go along." That means Washington will have to pitch them when he can and let their performance dictate how much more time they get on the mound and when.

The uncertainity in the bullpen (and Tommy Hunter's groin) is what led to the trade of Matt Treanor so that the club could carry eight relievers and try to get things figured out down there.