Saturday, May 18, 2013
Extra Bases: Burns making his push
By Todd Wills
ARLINGTON, Texas -- Texas Rangers reliever Cory Burns paid Detroit Tigers slugger Miguel Cabrera the ultimate compliment Friday night, comparing him to an all-time great.
That after Burns struck out Cabrera with a devastating changeup.
Burns doesn't appear to need a confidence boost as he tries to stay in the bullpen after being called up Thursday. But he knew what it meant to get the best of the Tigers' Triple Crown man in Friday's 2-1 loss to Detroit.
"Miguel is one of the best hitters in my opinion ever," Burns said. "It's still pitching. You still have to go out and make your pitches whether you're facing Miguel Cabrera or Babe Ruth or whoever."
Burns said he didn't do anything special to get Cabrera out with a runner at first in the top of the ninth and the Rangers trailing by a run. Burns threw Cabrera a two-seam fastball that he fouled off and a changeup that the Tigers third baseman missed.
Burns went back to the changeup to strike out Cabrera, right after he had retired the always dangerous Torii Hunter.
"I didn't really even set him up," Burns said. "I just kind of went with my best stuff right there. I threw it with some conviction, and it worked out.
"My changeup is my pitch. I'm getting better with my other pitches. They're coming along really well. And that makes my changeup that much better."
In two outings -- Burns had a perfect inning in Thursday's 10-4 victory -- the 25-year-old from Phoenix has retired all five batters he's faced and impressed his teammates. Burns is supposed to go back to Triple-A Round Rock when Josh Lindblom is called up from the Express to start in Alexi Ogando's spot. Burns is trying to persuade the Rangers to keep him.
"He had a really good changeup," Texas catcher Geovany Soto said. "He has a good delivery. And he's coming in and he's being aggressive."
Burns knows what's at stake. Manager Ron Washington said earlier in the week that there's a need for another right-handed arm out of the bullpen. Burns, who pitched in 17 games last season for the San Diego Padres and had a 5.50 ERA, knows the chance is there to win a big league job.
"Some guys get one opportunity," Burns said. "I'm fortunate enough that the Rangers have given me another opportunity here, and I'm going to do everything I can and bust my tail to try and earn a spot and stay."
Other Rangers notes for Saturday morning:
Grimm tries to end skid: Right-handed starter Justin Grimm has allowed 10 runs in his past 10 innings. He will try to turn things around against the Tigers' formidable lineup Saturday. Washington said Friday that Grimm has to work on keeping his pitches down in the strike zone. He allowed two home runs in his previous start, against Oakland, to fall behind 4-0 in the third inning.
Rangers in the clutch: The Rangers still haven't solved their riddle of hitting with runners in scoring position. They were 0-for-8 in Friday's 2-1 loss to continue a bad trend. The Rangers are batting .219 for the past 13 games with runners in scoring position.
Ross rolling: Left-handed reliever Robbie Ross pitched two scoreless innings Friday to extend his scoreless innings streak to 14, the second-longest of his career. He lowered his ERA to 0.48. Ross has walked a batter in three of his past four appearances.