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Sunday, June 30, 2013
Buzz: Scheppers says he's fine physically

By Todd Wills

ARLINGTON, Texas -- Rangers setup man Tanner Scheppers said he is fine physically and is available to pitch Sunday against the Cincinnati Reds.

Scheppers asked for a third day off Saturday night after a tough stretch of games that saw him pitch five days out of seven. Scheppers said the time off has had nothing to do with any discomfort in his right arm.

"I just needed another day," Scheppers said. "We have had some bad travel. Not having off days that sound like off days. I'm fine today."

Scheppers' third day off was more than noticeable Saturday night, and may have been the difference in a 6-4 loss in 11 innings to the Reds. The Rangers used four relievers after starter Nick Tepesch lasted only four innings, but Scheppers, who has been the Rangers' most reliable pitcher out of the bullpen, wasn't one of them.

Rangers manager Ron Washington elected to stay away from Scheppers, knowing the value of being careful with his primary relievers. Scheppers has appeared in 38 games, tied for third most in the American League entering Sunday's games.

Scheppers honesty is appreciated, Washington said before Sunday's game.

"It not only helps him, it helps us, too," Washington said. "I certainly don't want him to battle through something and it ends up costing us time with him. I'd rather just give him the time down if that what he says he needs, and I don't want him to fee embarrassed about it. You don't know how tough it is in this business to get honesty out of one of baseball players.

"It's refreshing when one of your guys is honest with you. You want honesty. You preach that to them all the time because something little can turn into something huge. If it turns into something huge, then you just hurt your whole team and not only yourself."

McClellan ready for next chance: No one felt worse about the way Saturday night's game ended than reliever Kyle McClellan, who allowed a two-run home run to Reds catcher Devin Mesoraco in the top of the 11th to give Cincinnati a 6-4 lead.

McClellan, who hadn't pitched since June 19 before Saturday night, said he's ready for another chance and looks forward to getting things right under the tutelage of Rangers pitching coach Mike Maddux.

McClellan, who is coming off shoulder surgery last summer, has allowed runs in his last four appearances. He has a 11.81 ERA during that time.

McClellan was a key pitcher for St. Louis for five seasons, posting a 3.69 ERA.

"I have a track record when I'm right," McClellan said. "I can give these guys a break. I have to give them the trust that I can go out and do it."

Ogando update: Right-hander Alexi Ogando (shoulder inflammation) threw 55 pitches in a bullpen session on Sunday and said he is ready to progress to throwing live batting practice. Ogando could throw to hitters on Tuesday or Wednesday, and then graduated to a rehab assignment.

Minor notes: Right-hander Evan Meek is 2-0 with a 3.32 ERA since joining Triple-A Round Rock's starting rotation. Meek, who broke in with Pittsburgh as a reliever, allowed two runs in six innings on Saturday night.