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Saturday, September 14, 2013
Buzz: Aftermatch of Rios' ejection, blown call

By Todd Wills

ARLINGTON, Texas -- The Rangers are hopeful there won't be any further repercussions for Alex Rios after Friday's ejection when it appeared he made some contact with third base umpire Andy Fletcher.

Rios was upset that he was called out by Fletcher at third base when replays clearly showed that the Rangers' right fielder slid in well ahead of A's third baseman Josh Donaldson's tag. The Rangers had scored six runs with two outs to pull within 9-8 of Oakland in the bottom of the eighth, so Fletcher's blown call stopped a potential miracle comeback.

Rangers manager Ron Washington doesn't seem to be too concerned about further penalties against Rios.

"That all depends on how the umpire wants to write it up," Washington said. "If he understands the intensity of the situation and the competitive spirit and juices that's going on out there, I certainly hope he takes that into consideration in his report. That's all that was. It wasn't vicious.

"We're on a comeback. He certainly didn't mean to to be vicious."

The Rangers were most upset with Fletcher for being out of position on the play. Replays showed he was screened by Donaldson.

“He didn’t get in the right position,” Washington said. “What he saw was the catch and then Rios sliding. If he takes a half step [towards home], he can see it clearly. It’s that simple.

"I told him that when he watches that play, I hope he gets sick to his stomach.”

Fifth starter: Nick Tepesch's one inning of work in Friday night's game didn't take him out of the running to start Tuesday's game at Tampa Bay, but Washington did say he hasn't made a decision yet.

Tuesday's starter will come out of the bullpen. Alexi Ogando could be a possibility. And left-hander Travis Blackley, who made three starts at the No. 5 guy before Tepesch pitched last Sunday at Anaheim, pitched a perfect inning in relief Friday night.

The Rangers are 26-21 against left-handed starters and 54-45 against righties. Blackley's arm bounced back with his fastball getting around 90 mph after being down in the mid-80s in his start against Minnesota on Sept. 1.

"It looked like he got his arm strength back," Washington said. "It looked like he went through a dead arm period there."

Garza's first ejection: No one who follows baseball is surprised when umpire Joe West tosses a manager or player from a game, but Rangers pitcher Matt Garza did say he was stunned when he was tossed from the dugout in the top of the ninth for something he said.

"I've never been ejected from a game, so of course I was surprised," Garza said.

On Berkman: Washington said that Lance Berkman would have hit as a pinch hitter if the A's had gone with right-handed closer Grant Balfour in the bottom of the ninth.

Berkman hadn't appeared in a game since Sept. 3 in Oakland before pinch hitting in the ninth inning on Saturday and lining out to center field. Berkman said before Saturday's game that he's ready to play, and when asked why he isn't being used, Berkman said he didn't know.

Washington was asked Saturday if he's disappointed in Berkman and also if he sees a veteran who has lost desire to play.

"No, I'm not disappointed in Berkman because his body has to allow him to do something," Washington said. "If you ask me if he's lost his desire, you have to ask him point blank."

Berkman denied a report that popped up on Twitter that said he had fallen out of favor due to a questionable work ethic and that he was caught napping in the clubhouse during a game last week.

Manager Ron Washington questioned where the information came from and dismissed it. Rumors were that A's TV commentators had mentioned it on Friday night's broadcast, but they said they did not talk about Berkman.

Short hops: Washington said he wanted to use Geovany Soto as a pinch hitter in the ninth inning Friday night, but went with Robinson Chirinos instead because Soto was in the bullpen warming up pitchers. ... Saturday's game had the earliest start time in Rangers Ballpark history.