Friday, May 18, 2012
Buzz: Joe Nathan will close and Michael Young won't sit
By Calvin Watkins
HOUSTON -- Texas Rangers closer Joe Nathan has pitched the last three games and is most likely available for Friday night's game at the Houston Astros.
Nathan has gone three innings over the last three games with five strikeouts, posting a 0.71 ERA. He is tied for fourth in the AL with eight saves.
"I haven't talked to him yet, but if there's a closing situation, you will see Nathan," Rangers manager Ron Washington said before the game.
Washington said reliever Mike Adams is not available to pitch. He's thrown 11 pitches the last two days, including six Thursday in taking the loss to the Oakland A's.
Washington said Koji Uehara will replace Adams out of the bullpen in the late innings. Uehara extended his scoreless streak to 9 1/3 innings with a scoreless eighth inning Tuesday night vs. Kansas City. He hasn't allowed a run since giving up a home run April 21 at Detroit. He leads AL pitchers with a 15-to-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio.
Michael Young, baring a sudden change, will play all three games in this NL park.
Young is slumping.
He's hitless in his last 11 at bats and went .148 on the just completed seven-game homestand.
Washington said it's not a hard decision to keep Young in the lineup and play first base despite what Mitch Moreland is doing.
Moreland hit .429 over the last seven games, with eight RBIs and three home runs.
"I'm not taking Michael out of the lineup," Washington said. Later he said, "he's going to come out of this. He just doesn't look very comfortable and that happens, and sometimes you can't find that spot in that box to get comfortable. It's like most things, when you're talking about a tremendous guy that has a great eye-hand coordination. It could happen today."
Starter Derek Holland said he had one bullpen session this week and feels good about his start Saturday night against Lucas Harrell. Holland said he couldn't remember how many pitches he threw in the session but didn't work on anything specifically.
Nolan Ryan and Josh Hamilton were sought after people by the Houston media.
Ryan said he's happy to see the Astros playing much better than last year and follows them every game.
Hamilton said it was good to have a day off and even noted, "I slept in a little bit and I came in and I relaxed a little bit and didn't have to rush and get a routine in."
On his 16-game hitting streak ending after he came in as a pinch-hitter Thursday: "I didn't know what type of hitting streak I was on."
Hamilton said Nathan informed him the streak was over.
"Whatever, show up and play," Hamilton said.