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Monday, July 28, 2014
Extra Bases: Rangers go short on the bench

By Calvin Watkins

ARLINGTON, Texas -- When the Texas Rangers placed left fielder Jake Smolinski on the 15-day disabled list prior to the three-game series with the Oakland Athletics it left the bench one player short.

Manager Ron Washington isn’t sweating it right now, because with the inconsistency of the starting rotation, the more bullpen help you have the better.

As of now, Jim Adduci, Adam Rosales and Chris Gimenez are coming off the bench. Adduci was a pinch hitter for J.P. Arencibia on Sunday against the Athletics and might get a start at first against the New York Yankees this week.

Rosales got a start on Sunday and hit a two-run homer on Sunday in place of everyday second baseman Rougned Odor.

Gimenez, who Washington joked is an emergency relief pitcher, will backup at catcher.

How long can the Rangers survive with three bench players is uncertain. When the non-waiver trade deadline passes on Thursday afternoon, the Rangers could lose one relief pitcher and maybe a position player.

Jerome Williams' spot start morphing into a victory on Friday gave Washington another long-reliever to use if necessary and he continues to hold onto two lefties in the bullpen in Neal Cotts and Ryan Feierabend. Cotts is the subject of trade talk so his status is uncertain.

Smolinski is hitting off a tee and doing soft toss. He hasn't run yet, so the Rangers could maintain a short bench for a while or make a roster move for a position player.

Some of these issues will be cleared up after Thursday.

Darvish faces the Yankees again: Staff ace Yu Darvish faces the Yankees on Monday night at Globe Life Park. It’s the second time Darvish will face the Yankees in less than a week. He pitched against them last Wednesday in a game that was called after 4 1/3 innings due to poor field conditions and the forecast of more rain.

“I try not to think about it and just want to go deep in a game as much as possible,” said Darvish, who was credited with a complete game.

Darvish only threw 67 pitches so he should feel slightly stronger for Monday’s contest.

The Rangers have received some quality starts from Nick Tepesch (six innings on Saturday) and Williams (six innings on Friday) of late which is something Darvish can build on. Miles Mikolas was pitching well until two bad innings forced Washington to yank him after 4 2/3 innings on Sunday night.

Darvish is 2-1 with a no-decision in his last four starts against the Yankees with a 1.85 ERA. Outside of the rain-shortened game, Darvish has pitched into at least the sixth inning in three of his last four starts against the Yankees.