Monday, April 18, 2011
Ron Washington still sorting out bullpen
By Calvin Watkins
ARLINGTON, Texas -- Rangers manager Ron Washington said other than Neftali Feliz as the closer, the late-inning work of the relievers is unsettled.
Sunday night, Washington used Arthur Rhodes for 1 1/3 innings. He threw a season-high 34 pitches in taking the loss against the Yankees. Rhodes will not be available for Monday's game against the Angels.
Rhodes hasn't pitched on consecutive days in April, and the last time he did was August 20-21 while pitching for the Reds last year. The 34 pitches were more than Rhodes threw in any of his 69 appearances in 2010.
Washington isn't bothered by not having Rhodes, who should be OK for Tuesday's game, but he is looking for is some bullpen help.
Michael Kirkman, who was recalled from Triple-A Round Rock on Friday, can be the long-relief or seventh- or eighth-inning guy.
Darren Oliver, Darren O'Day, Pedro Strop and Mason Tobin are still trying to find their roles.
Strop came in Sunday after Rhodes allowed the go-ahead run to score in the Yankees' half of the eighth inning. Strop retired Russell Martin with the bases loaded to end the inning.
"Still sorting," Washington said of the bullpen. "I like Strop, the situation I brought him in last night and he handled it. We certainly need more than Darren Oliver and Rhodes and O'Day to step up down there, so some of these guys will start to get more of an opportunity. It's not always where they have to put up, zeros it's just coming up there and throwing the ball over the plate, competing making something happen. I think things will work it's way out as we move forward."
The bullpen has allowed six runs in the last 10 1/3 innings in the last five games. The Rangers have the fourth-best ERA among relievers in the AL at 3.03. Washington hasn't used his bullpen much, thanks to the starting rotation. The bullpen has worked just 35 2/3 innings, fewest in the majors.