Saturday, June 29, 2013
Buzz: Rangers' young pitchers improving
By Todd Wills
ARLINGTON, Texas -- The Rangers' young pitchers have played a big role in helping the club win nine of their past 11 games.
Martin Perez and Justin Grimm have four of the five wins by starters during the stretch. Nick Tepesch, who started Saturday night's game against Cincinnati, pitched St. Louis ace Adam Wainwright to a draw last Sunday night in a game that the Rangers eventually won 2-1.
The young trio is 4-0 with a 2.73 ERA in its past five starts going into Tepesch's start Saturday. It walked four batters and allowed three home runs in 29⅔ innings.
"They've executed some pitches," Rangers manager Ron Washington said. "That's what it takes. They're staying out of the danger zone and making fewer mistakes. It's as simple as that."
Tepesch and Grimm have overcome major struggles. Tepesch is winless in seven starts, but he competed with Wainwright and made only one mistake on a home run by Matt Carpenter.
"It's a matter of adjusting to what you've done and what you need to do," Washington said. "They're young, but they understand that's not an excuse. If they're going to be here they're going to have to help us. We're not babysitting them."
Profar in at 2B: Jurickson Profar is moving around the infield, playing his third position in three days with a start at second base on Saturday.
Profar's focus has improved after a few learning moments on the last homestand and a talk with the manager. Profar made two Web Gem-caliber plays in Friday's 4-0 victory.
"He got the message," Washington said. "He's a utility player right now. You go out there and play wherever you play."
Soria gets closer: Reliever Joakim Soria had two strikeouts and allowed a hit in an inning of relief for Triple-A Round Rock in another rehab appearance on Friday. Soria will pitch again Sunday.
After that, he'll throw in back-to-back games, and, if all goes well, Soria could be ready next week for the Rangers' road trip to Baltimore and Detroit.
"He's still getting outs," Washington said.
Kinsler's near misses: Second baseman Ian Kinsler flirted with another home run down the left-field line that just hooked outside the foul pole. That's at least four home runs this month at Rangers Ballpark that have just missed hitting the foul pole.
Baker update: Utility man Jeff Baker (sprained right thumb) is hitting off a tee and doing front toss as he continues his rehab. Baker said Saturday that he won't put a timetable on his return. He was eligible to come off the the 15-day disabled list on Friday.
Lewis, Ogando bullpens: Rehabbing right-handers Alexi Ogando and Colby Lewis will throw bullpen sessions on Sunday. Ogando will throw 50 pitches and Lewis will throw 25.
Alfaro unlikely for Futures Game: Class A Hickory catcher Jorge Alfaro sustained a small non-displaced fracture of the left fifth metacarpal when he was hit by a pitch on Friday night. He is expected to miss several weeks and is unlikely to play in the All-Star Futures Game on July 14 in New York City.