Texas Rangers: Jerome Williams

Pregame notes: Rios focused on field

August, 8, 2014
Aug 8
HOUSTON -- Texas Rangers outfielder Alex Rios is expected to miss the next two games with a sprained right ankle. Rios, who first injured the ankle July 19 at Toronto, wants to be as close to 100 percent as possible and could use the break.

Of course, Rios has also been the subject of persistent trade rumors. He cleared waivers Thursday and could still be dealt if a trade partner can be found. But he's not worried about all that talk.

"I'm not talking about trades right now, unless something happens," Rios said. "If there's a trade, then I'll address that situation. As of right now, I'm still a Ranger and I'm here to do what I have to do, and I will address that if something happens."

The Rangers have a $13.5 million club option on Rios with a $1 million buyout clause. Rios does have six clubs he can veto a deal to: the Arizona Diamondbacks, Colorado Rockies, Houston Astros, Kansas City Royals, New York Yankees and Oakland Athletics.

Soto's impact on Chirinos: The Rangers activated Geovany Soto (groin) from the 15-day disabled list Friday and designating Chris Gimenez for assignment.

Soto's absence for much of the season has allowed Robinson Chirinos to become pretty much the full-time man behind the plate. Manager Ron Washington said no final decision has been made regarding how he will divvy up playing time between his catchers.

"Let's let this play out," Washington said. "We have to see where (Soto) is before I start to say what's about to happen. Robinson Chirinos will catch. He's been doing good, and you have to give him credit for his improvement. He's been doing a good job."

Expect Soto to catch the next two games with Chirinos getting Sunday's start.

"Robinson Chirinos has earned what he is," Washington said.

Base Hits: Washington said the club is hopeful RHP Jerome Williams will be back up with the Rangers at some point. He was designated for assignment onFriday. ... LF Shin-Soo Choo is hitting just .196 the last 56 games and has seen his overall batting average drop from .289 to .238. "He's just missing pitches," Washington said. "He had a couple of real good swings in Chicago, but for the most part, I see him missing his pitches." ... 1B J.P. Arencibia is hitting .302 over the last 12 games. His batting average has improved from .136 to .194.

Ankle keeps Rios out; Soto activated

August, 8, 2014
Aug 8
HOUSTON -- Texas Rangers outfielder Alex Rios will not play in Friday's game against the Houston Astros after aggravating a right ankle sprain.

Rios, who is hitting just .231 over his last seven games, originally injured his ankle coming out of the batter's box July 19 at Toronto and missed the Rangers' next three games.

"It hurts and it hasn't been getting better at all," Rios said. "It's kinda tough I could play on it, but I'd rather take a couple of days off to get it right."

Rios said he's available to pinch hit and play defense if manager Ron Washington needs him to.

He could return to the lineup on Sunday.

"I'm going to be in the lineup, no matter what," Rios said. "I just want to give it a rest and see if it can feel better."

Rios cleared waivers Thursday and can be dealt to any club, but his injury could put potential talks on hold for now. Rangers officials have said they are open to picking up Rios' team option for 2015, but GM Jon Daniels said the team will look at trades if some quality minor-league prospects can be acquired.

Also, the Rangers designated right-hander Jerome Williams for assignment and activated Geovany Soto (groin) from the 15-day disabled list.
Soto, who has played in only three games this season, hit .375 in a five-game rehab stint at Triple-A Round Rock. Williams was 1-1 with a 9.90 ERA in his two starts with Texas.

Notes: Outfielder Jake Smolinski was placed in a walking boot Wednesday because of a small fracture in his left foot and will be out two-to-three weeks. Smolinski bruised left foot July 21 and went on the DL on July 25, retroactive to July 22.

Rapid Reaction: Indians 12, Rangers 2

August, 1, 2014
Aug 1

CLEVELAND -- In what was the first night of a 10-game trip, the Texas Rangers could not have started things off on a worse note.

Though they had won all four series openers since the All-Star break and most recently took two of three games from the New York Yankees, the Rangers fell victim to subpar pitching and a Cleveland Indians team that simply would not stop hitting.

The end result was a 12-2 drubbing. But this one wasn’t even as close as the final score would ultimately dictate, as every Indians starter would register at least one hit and their pitching was downright dominant after the second inning.

Rangers’ starting pitcher Jerome Williams took his fifth loss of the season and managed to increase his ERA by more than a full run, giving up 10 earned runs, 13 hits and three walks in only four innings of work. Conversely, Indians starter Danny Salazar threw six innings of baseball with no earned runs, giving up four hits, striking out four and walking three.

Former Rangers outfielder David Murphy was 4-for-4, including two doubles, two runs scored and two RBIs. His teammate and fellow outfielder Michael Brantley (.320, .891 OPS) was 3-for-4 with a double, one run scored and two RBIs.

How it happened: Cleveland’s runs came early and often. Brantley singled home infielder Mike Aviles in the bottom of the first inning and the first run of the game. Texas would threaten in the top of the second, but the inning would end as Murphy gunned down a half-running Adrian Beltre at home to end the inning.

The Indians would score twice in each of the third and fourth innings before registering six more runs in the bottom of the fifth. A Carlos Santana walk would be followed by hits from Lonnie Chisenhall, Nick Swisher, Yan Gomes and Murphy, snowballing and promptly signaling the end of Williams’ night. Nate Adcock would toss a wild pitch and give up single to Aviles to add on a few more scores. The inning would end with back-to-back diving catches by Jim Adduci and Shin-Soo Choo.

The two Rangers runs came in a very anti-climactic manner. The first was unearned as Robinson Chirinos would score on a fielder’s choice having wound up a third base on an error in right field. The second came in the top of the ninth after indifference allowed Daniel Robertson to score on an Elvis Andrus single. Beltre (.327, .890 OPS) and Chirinos were the only bright spots for the Rangers offense, combining to go 4-for-6 with a walk, a double and a run scored. Relief pitcher Scott Baker tossed two perfect frames, striking out four.

Going streaking: With an infield hit in the top of the seventh inning, Rangers shortstop Andrus extended his Progressive Field hitting streak to 23 games. Beginning on Aug. 11, 2009, Andrus is hitting .395 (34-86) with 11 walks, two home runs and 11 RBIs. It marks the highest average by any player in the stadium’s 20-year history and is the longest hit streak ever by a Ranger in a road city. The player who ranks second on Progressive Field’s list is former Ranger Michael Young, who hit safely in 20 straight games from 2004 to 2008.

Rough night, kid: Phil Klein’s MLB debut could have gone better. The towering right-hander, who carried an 18 1/3 scoreless inning streak in Triple-A, entered the game in the sixth inning with the Rangers down 11-1 and promptly gave up a home run to deep right off of the bat of Chisenhall. The 25-year-old then hit rookie outfielder Tyler Holt with a pitch, balked him over to second base and gave up an infield single to Murphy. Only one run would score, but the outing was far from the dominant work Klein was used to in Round Rock.

Rocky road: The loss marks the Texas’ fourth straight road defeat. The Rangers have managed to fall short in seven of the last nine and 17 of their last 20 games away from Arlington, Texas. They’re 7-23 on the road since May 30 after starting the season 15-10.

The game within the game: Rangers manager Ron Washington was a perfect 2-for-2 on his in-game challenges, leading to a double play and an inning-ending out at third base..

What’s next? Texas right-hander Miles Mikolas (1-3, 8.54 ERA) will square off against Indians left-hander TJ House (1-2, 4.50) on Saturday night at 6:05 CT as the Rangers look to put this one in the rear view. The Indians are set to unveil a long-awaited statue of former slugger Jim Thome prior to the first pitch.
ARLINGTON, Texas – The Rangers made some changes to their starting rotation for the weekend series at Cleveland.

Nick Tepesch will not pitch Friday against the Indians and will be replaced by veteran journeyman Jerome Williams.

Miles Mikolas will go Saturday and Yu Darvish will get pushed back an extra day and pitch on Sunday.

Tepesch left his last start on Saturday after going six innings because of a slight knee problem. Tepesch has some swelling in the knee and the Rangers told him not to throw a bullpen session on Tuesday.

“It feels a lot better than it did the other day,” said Tepesch, 3-7 with a 4.84 ERA. “I’d say [the knee] is close [to 100 percent]. I won’t say it’s 100 percent.”

Manager Ron Washington said the goal is for Tepesch eventually to throw a bullpen (although the date hasn’t been decided) and pitch next Wednesday against the Chicago White Sox.

Williams’ scheduled start comes after he was a spot starter last week and earned a victory against the Oakland Athletics. Williams held the A’s, who lead the majors in runs scored, to just one run over six innings in a 4-1 victory.

Washington said moving Tepesch was mainly a precaution and nothing more.

“Just skip him a turn, give him this one turn and he should be ready to go when we get to Chicago,” Washington said. “He took himself out of a game and we don’t want to rush him back; he’s missing just one turn through the rotation. Give him a chance to catch up.”

Darvish getting more rest: With Tepesch skipping a turn, it meant the Rangers' staff ace, Darvish, will pitch on five days' rest instead of his customary four.

After Sunday’s scheduled start against Cleveland, Darvish is slated to pitch Aug. 8 or Aug. 9 at Houston, where he could pitch either on four or five days' rest for one of those games.

“But we got these off-days coming and we want to try and give everybody a break if we can, including Darvish,” Washington said. “After this next off day in Houston [Aug. 7] he’ll get back on five [days' rest] and run it out through August.”

Martin's struggles continue: The numbers are pretty bad. Leonys Martin is 0-for-13 during this six-game homestand and is 0-for-16 in the past five games to drop his batting average to .273.

“Marty has to start using the whole field,” Washington said. “He just uses one part of the field. He’s much more successful when he uses the whole field. I think if you go look up the numbers you will see most of his hits are from [up the middle]. He’s got to do something different.”

Martin has 44 hits up the middle, but he’s got 18 RBIs when he pulls the ball to the left side with a slash line of .356/.356/.622.

“I haven’t been doing well, but you gotta keep fighting,” Martin said. “Mentally, I’m there and think about every pitch and keep fighting that’s all I can do right now. The last couple of games, I hit a couple of good balls. I can only control what I can do and keep fighting to do more."
ARLINGTON, Texas -- The Rangers haven’t finalized their rotation for the weekend series in Cleveland, particularly Friday night’s starter.

It could be Nick Tepesch, but inflammation in his left knee forced him out of his start on Saturday night. Manager Ron Washington said Tepesch’s bullpen session will determine a lot.

“You want to see how he does,” Washington said of Tepesch. “He’s got to get through his bullpen and not have any issues afterwards.”

The Rangers could also use Jerome Williams, who earned a victory on Friday night against the Athletics. Of course, Miles Mikolas, Sunday’s starter, could take the turn as well on his normal four days rest.

“We’ll know more Wednesday and see how we’ll set it up,” Washington said.

Arencibia keeps swinging: First baseman J.P. Arencibia is improving in the field and continues to have ups and downs at the plate. He struck out twice, swinging, with men on base in Sunday’s loss to the Athletics.

Arencibia is 2-for-10 on this six-game home stand but has four RBIs in the last six games and seven of the Rangers' 26 RBIs in the second half of the year belong to him.

“It’s part of the game, it’s why that guy is an All-Star,” Arencibia said of Oakland pitcher Scott Kazmir, who recorded both strikeouts on Arencibia. “It’s going to happen to the best players in baseball and it happens to everybody.”

Arencibia was back in the lineup for Monday’s game against the New York Yankees and batting sixth.

Williams waits his turn: After a solid outing on Saturday night, Williams continues to wait for his time. Williams said he’s available in a relief appearance starting Monday night or he can get another start.

“I have no clue,” Williams said regarding his role. “Just playing it by ear. It doesn’t matter as long as I go out and perform. I’ve been doing the same thing the last three years. I know the rules, I just want to help the team as best as possible.”

Williams allowed one run on five hits in six innings of work as a spot starter while Tepesch was given an extra day of rest because he was an emergency reliever.

Base Hits: The Rangers enter the game having dropped 17 games in the standings since June 17. The Rangers went from seven games out to 24 behind the first-place A’s in the AL West. ... The Rangers have won their three series openers in the second half of the season.
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.

Nick Tepesch pitches well, leaves hurt

July, 26, 2014
Jul 26
Nick TepeschTom Pennington/Getty ImagesNick Tepesch left with knee soreness three pitches into Saturday's seventh inning.

ARLINGTON, Texas -- Texas Rangers right-hander Nick Tepesch suffered a left-knee injury in Saturday night’s start against the Oakland Athletics.

Tepesch said he doesn’t need an MRI exam on the knee, but manager Ron Washington said there’s a little inflammation.

Tepesh departed with a 2-1 count against Josh Donaldson in the seventh inning of the Rangers' 5-1 loss. Rather than continue to battle through it, Tepesch did the smart thing and summoned the trainer and Washington to inform them of his health issue.

“I never felt anything like that before,” said Tepesch, who took the loss, going six innings and allowing three runs on four hits on 73 pitches. “I guess that’s the best way to put it. I never had any problems with it. Yeah, I don’t want to continue pitching if it’s going to affect how I’m pitching and affect the rest of the guys in the room.”

And indeed, the guys in the Rangers clubhouse were impressed with Tepesch’s effort.

He allowed just two baserunners in his first five innings before things went south in the sixth. With two outs, he threw a changeup to John Jaso, who homered to right to give the A’s a 2-1 lead.

To his frustration, Tepesch didn't close Oakland out from there. Yoenis Cespedes homered in the next at-bat to push the lead to 3-1.

Tepesch, 25, did show that he was able to finish innings off Saturday night, as in the second when, after a leadoff single by Brandon Moss, he retired Josh Donaldson on a 4-6-3 double play and enticed Stephen Vogt on a fly out to left. Tepesch then retired nine consecutive hitters until Vogt reached on an error by first baseman J.P. Arencibia with two outs in the fifth. Josh Reddick popped out to Adrian Beltre to finish the inning.

“He made tremendous progress,” Washington said of Tepesch. “You know when you get a chance to finish an inning, that’s a process right there. You got to be able to finish that inning; he got to the point [where] he got two outs [in the sixth] and he needed one more and that’s what he has to learn what to do. If he pitches the ball like he did today, he’ll be fine.”

Tepesch became an emergency reliever Tuesday night in New York when the Rangers ran out of bullpen arms. Pitching coach Mike Maddux praised Tepesch for answering the bell when the team needed him, and despite allowing the winning run in the 14th inning, the Rangers were impressed with how he came in on short notice.

There was a concern he couldn’t make his scheduled start Friday, so the club moved him back a day.

The move worked as Jerome Williams pitched six solid innings to beat the A’s.

Tepesch followed it up with a good outing himself -- he just didn’t finish the one inning he needed to.

“I thought he did great, he made two pitches -- the changeup he left up to Jaso and the fastball he got up over the plate to Cespedes,” Washington said. “In command all night. They powered the ball out of the ballpark on us tonight.”

Rapid Reaction: Athletics 5, Rangers 1

July, 26, 2014
Jul 26

ARLINGTON, Texas -- Nick Tepesch was moving along Saturday, following up on some strong performances from the Texas Rangers' starting rotation.

But a pair of two-out home runs in the sixth inning shook him, and he eventually left in the seventh with soreness in his left knee in the Rangers' 5-1 loss to the Oakland Athletics on Saturday night at Globe Life Park.

Tepesch (3-7) had a solid night before departing, allowing three runs on four hits in six innings of work. He struck out two on 73 pitches.

The Rangers didn’t provide much help with their offense, getting just one run against A’s starter Sonny Gray, who extended his personal win streak to six games.

After stunning the Athletics, owners of the best record in baseball, with a victory Friday night, things got back to normal Saturday. The Rangers, with the worst record in baseball at 41-63, are now 4-18 in July, the fewest wins for any team in the big leagues this month.

The last time the Rangers lost 18 games in a month was August 2008, when they were 11-18.

What happened in the sixth? Tepesch, whose start was moved back a day after an emergency relief appearance Tuesday in New York, held the Athletics in check for most of the night. He allowed just two baserunners: Brandon Moss, who led off the second with a single, and Stephen Vogt, who reached on an error in the fifth. It fell apart in the sixth with two outs and a man on. Tepesch allowed a two-run homer to John Jaso, who smashed a belt-high changeup to right. Yoenis Cespedes followed that with a solo shot to right on a fastball down the middle to push the lead to 3-1.

The Rangers tried to respond in their half of the inning, which Elvis Andrus started with a walk. Gray struck out the next two batters, Alex Rios and Adrian Beltre, on curveballs out of the zone. Jim Adduci walked to extend the inning, but it ended when J.P. Arencibia struck out on a half-swing on another curveball out of the zone.

Could Jerome get a start? With Tepesch leaving in the seventh inning, Jerome Williams might get the call to replace him in the rotation if the knee injury is serious. Before the game, Rangers manager Ron Washington said Williams deserved to get another start based on his efforts Friday night. Williams held the A’s to one run with five hits allowed in six innings of work. The Rangers are sticking with their young pitchers in the long term, and a veteran such as Williams is just hanging around as long as he pitches well. Tepesch would get at least five days of recovery before his next scheduled start, tentatively Aug. 1 at Cleveland.

Elvis’ night: Andrus broke an 0-for-12 slide in New York on Thursday afternoon with a single. Friday night he picked up two hits, including his first triple of the season. Saturday, Andrus reached base in three of four plate appearances. He was stranded in the first and sixth innings and picked off in the third. With a chance to make an impact in the seventh with two on and two outs, Andrus hit a chopper to shortstop Nick Punto, who made a nice play on the run to get the out.

Adcock’s debut: Reliever Nate Adcock's debut was shaky. He became the 32nd Rangers pitcher to appear in a game -- a club record, and most in the majors this season. Adcock was called up from Triple-A Round Rock on Thursday and relieved Tepesch.

The first batter he faced was Josh Donaldson, who homered on a 2-2 pitch to center for a 4-1 Athletics lead. After a strikeout, Adcock gave up a solo shot to Josh Reddick to push the lead to 5-1. Adcock settled down to retire the next five hitters, with strikeouts of Jaso and Cespedes to end the eighth inning.

What’s next? Right-hander Miles Mikolas (1-2, 7.48 ERA) faces Oakland lefty Scott Kazmir (11-3, 2.32) on Sunday night. First pitch is scheduled for 6:05 p.m. CT.
ARLINGTON, Texas -- Jerome Williams pitched so well Friday night for the Texas Rangers that manager Ron Washington said the veteran right-hander deserves another start.

When that occurs is uncertain, but if anything else, Williams' performance gave the Rangers confidence they can use him again.

Friday night, Williams gave up just one run on five hits in six innings with four strikeouts in a 4-1 victory over the Oakland Athletics. Williams threw 88 pitches, and Washington noted he challenged the A's hitters by throwing strikes.

"He's still here," Washington said of the 32-year-old. "We just have to wait and see. I see him throw against us and all he has to do is go out there and do it again against Oakland and he did it. He did it. He deserves another start, until that time comes, we'll have to wait and see, he's still here."

Feliz could pitch again: When Neftali Feliz took over the closer's role after Joakim Soria was traded to Detroit, it raised questions about how effective he would be. Feliz earned his first save since Game 5 of the 2011 World Series on Friday night. Washington said he wasn't sure if Feliz could pitch on consecutive days and, despite being healthy, it would depend on his workload.

Feliz said he's 100 percent healthy after undergoing Tommy John surgery last year. Felix threw 26 pitches in his outing Friday which included working out of a ninth-inning jam.

"His competitive juices were flowing," Washington said. "I could see him out there wanting it bad and I could see him out there competing. There will be times when Neftali goes out there where he makes it easy because he executes pitches because that's what it's going to take."

Arencibia improving: Rangers first baseman J.P. Arencibia had a RBI in three of his previous four games and has hit the Rangers' past three home runs heading into Saturday night's game. In his return to the club from Triple-A Round Rock on July 17, he's hitting just .179, but of late he's maintaining his spot in the lineup with his play.

"Just playing with some confidence," he said. "Not worried about fielding and messing up. Just try to get good swings out there and let it fly."

"To me, he's a threat at the plate," Washington said.

Extra Bases: Williams solid in debut

July, 26, 2014
Jul 26
ARLINGTON, Texas -- Jerome Williams said it isn’t his style to nitpick around the strike zone.

The 32-year-old right-hander prefers to go right at an opponent, even if the team in the other dugout is the explosive Oakland Athletics.

“That was my game plan, to go after them," Williams said Friday following a sparkling six-inning performance in which he allowed only five hits and one run in the Texas Rangers' 4-1 victory.

He issued no walks and struck out four.

“If they are going to get on base, they have to earn it," Williams added.

On a very warm night, Williams needed only 88 pitches for 18 outs. He was activated earlier in the day so he could make the start.

“It was an outstanding job," manager Ron Washington said. “I’ll take six innings every time. He was changing speeds well. Against that lineup, he did a good job."

Before the game, Washington was not committing to Williams’ future role, telling him just to pitch his game and take advantage of the opportunity.

Afterward, Williams said he didn’t feel he had to prove anything during the contest.

But his 2014 statistics haven’t been encouraging.

He began the season working out of the Houston bullpen and went 1-4 with a 6.04 ERA. On July 8, he was released by the Astros.

Four days later the Rangers signed Williams to a minor league contract. With Triple-A Round Rock, Williams made a pair of starts, going 0-1 with a 6.10 ERA.

But back on a major league mound, Williams appeared calm and in control. He left Rangers fans looking for more.

The Rangers and Athletics are set meet Saturday night in Game 2 of the series, with Nick Tepesch to oppose Oakland’s Sonny Gray in the 7:05 p.m. CT start at Globe Life Park.

Jerome Williams to start Friday

July, 24, 2014
Jul 24
NEW YORK -- The Rangers named Jerome Williams as their starter for Friday's game against the Oakland A's. The club will make a corresponding roster move Friday to clear a spot for Williams.

Williams was 0-1 with a 6.10 ERA for Triple-A Round Rock. In his last start July 18 vs. Iowa, he allowed four runs on nine hits in six innings of work with three strikeouts in a loss. Opponents are hitting .348 against him with three home runs in 10 1/3 innings.

The move was necessary after the club deemed Nick Tepesch wouldn't be able to start Friday after being used as an emergency reliever in Tuesday night's 14-inning loss to the Yankees.

"We got to keep what we got in the bullpen," manager Ron Washington said. "We signed him (Williams) and take a look at him and he's ready to go."

The Rangers didn't want to insert a reliever into a spot-starting situation. Scott Baker had also been considered a possibility.

Williams was signed by the Rangers on July 11 and assigned to Round Rock after he was released by the Houston Astros. He was 1-4 with a 6.04 ERA as a reliever this season for Houston. In his career, Williams is 43-51 with a 4.45 ERA. His last start came against the Rangers while he was pitching for the Los Angeles Angels in September of 2012. He lost a 6-5 decision.

"He's a (right-hander), can sink the ball pretty good and he can run it in on right-handers, got a good breaking ball and we'll see what he has to offer," Washington said.

The scheduled starters for the weekend will be Tepesch on Saturday and Miles Mikolas on Sunday. Yu Darvish is on target to pitch against the New York Yankees on Monday.

Washington's message centers on commitment

July, 11, 2014
Jul 11
ARLINGTON, Texas -- Texas Rangers manager Ron Washington gave a little more insight Friday to the clubhouse meeting he called after Thursday's 15-6 loss to the Los Angeles Angels.

"Mainly, I want to see commitment," Washington said during his pregame media conference before Friday's game against the Angels. "They're giving the effort. Effort is when you hit a ground ball, you run it out. Or a fly ball, you go at it.

"Commitment is doing what the game asks you to do. Not doing something that somebody else has the ability to do and you don't. Commitment is not looking for a reward after doing what you're supposed to do.

"We're in the process of getting the new guys to understand what this means. It's a process. I've been in the process all my life. I want committed people. I don't want just one guy to get paid. I want all of us to get paid. And the only way that can happen, we've got to win."

Texas has lost five straight and 19 of 22 to fall to the bottom of the AL West standings.

Washington said he can live with a player who doesn't get the desired result when trying to do the right thing -- like taking a pitch or sacrificing an at-bat to get a runner over.

"If you do the right thing more times than not you'll get the results you're looking for," he said.

Washington said the Rangers' younger players have a role model in third baseman Adrian Beltre. Just as it was a few years before with Michael Young.

"In this game, showing what needs to be done is more important than telling them what needs to be done," the manager said.

Shortstop Elvis Andrus, unlike many of the newer Rangers, has heard Washington's words before in a clubhouse meeting.

"Everything he said is right," Andrus said. "Wash is super cool, but it got to the point where he needed say some things.

"He's always into it. He has passion. I'm all for it."

Andrus is back in the lineup after missing the last five innings of Thursday's 15-6 loss to the Angels when he tweaked his ankle turning a double play.

Dream start: Hot-hitting rookie Jake Smolinski, batting .571, draws his fourth straight start and his parents will once again be in the stands at Globe Life Park. He'll be in left field and bat sixth.

"This has been something I'll never forget," said Smolinski, now 8-for-14 at the plate with three doubles and four RBIs. "I don't want to get caught up in numbers. I just want to make sure I'm giving 100 percent and whatever happens, happens."

Smolinski has noticed the scouting reports are a lot better in the big leagues. And that it is difficult to track a line drive to left field at Globe Life Park before the sun sets.

Roster moves: The Rangers made a couple of moves on Friday, signing well-traveled 32-year-old right-handed pitcher Jerome Williams to a contract with Triple-A Round Rock and shifting outfielder Engel Beltre from Round Rock to Double-A Frisco to continue his rehab assignment.

Williams was recently released by the Astros. He also has played for the Giants, Cubs, Nationals, Twins, Dodgers, Athletics and Angels. His first start for Round Rock would likely be Sunday.

Spring training preview: No. 2 starter

January, 21, 2014
Jan 21
Note: Spring training will arrive before you know it. To get you ready, we'll take a look at every position between now and February, when pitchers and catchers report to Surprise, Ariz.

HollandTim Heitman/USA TODAY SportsWith Derek Holland injured, the competition for the No. 2 starter spot should be very interesting.

Today's position: No. 2 starter

It was a dog named Wrigley that altered the Rangers rotation five weeks before pitchers and catchers arrive in Arizona. Derek Holland, the club's No. 2 starter behind Yu Darvish, was "horsing around" with his boxer, Wrigley, when the dog charged up the staircase and tripped Holland. The pitcher slammed his knee into the stairs and said that had he not grabbed the railing just in time, he might have fallen down the stairs and cracked his head open.

But the damage to his cartilage was bad enough that it required surgery on his left knee. The club has given Holland a timetable of midseason to return, though he says he hopes he can get back sooner than that.

No matter when the actual date is, Holland won't be ready to start the season and won't be around for a few months once it does begin. That's a huge blow to the rotation. Holland had put together a 2013 worth building on. After struggles in 2012, Holland became a more consistent pitcher last season. He had a 3.42 ERA, a run and a half lower than the previous season. He never missed a turn in the rotation, the only Ranger pitcher to do so. It was the kind of season he vowed he'd have and the 27-year-old was looking forward to validating it with another one (just like Matt Harrison did in 2011 and 2012).

Now, Holland must wait until midseason to do that. And it means the Rangers must figure out what to do in his absence. The club is looking externally and internally to create rotation competition this spring. As it stands now, Darvish, Matt Harrison, Martin Perez and Alexi Ogando are in. The group of internal candidates, so far, includes Nick Tepesch, Colby Lewis (if he can prove he's healthy), Michael Kirkman and Robbie Ross. Tanner Scheppers is also stretched out as a starter, but it seems likely he'd end up in the pen. Jose Contreras is also coming to spring training.

The club is also looking at the free-agent market. Assuming they don't surprise everyone and go big by signing Masahiro Tanaka, the Rangers could look at some pitchers on shorter-term deals. That makes Jerome Williams appealing. His numbers certainly don't jump off the page, but he could be a low-risk, high-reward option on a one-year deal who could come to spring training and fight for a spot. Ubaldo Jimenez, Bronson Arroyo and Ervin Santana are among the other options. Arroyo is intriguing because he has proven to be an innings-eater, but he might require a three-year deal.

OUTLOOK: Losing Holland hurts a rotation that has other questions, like whether Harrison can return to form and if Perez is ready to handle a full season as a starter.

Holland talked last week about the frustration of the injury and how much he was looking forward to proving himself again 2013. He'll have to do that by working hard in rehab and helping the club once he returns. Perhaps he can look at it as being the trade deadline piece that makes a difference.

But the competition to see who replaces him should be very interesting.

Tanner Scheppers ready to start or close

January, 13, 2014
Jan 13
FRISCO, Texas -- It would have to be considered a surprise if Tanner Scheppers comes out of spring training as a starter in the Texas Rangers' rotation. But with Derek Holland likely out until midseason, anything is possible. And Scheppers was told, even before Holland's left knee surgery last week, to come into spring training stretched out to start.

[+] EnlargeScheppers
AP Photo/Tony GutierrezTanner Scheppers posted a 1.88 ERA in 76 appearances last season.
Of course, that doesn't mean the Rangers are looking at Scheppers as a starter. But the smart move is to stretch out a gaggle of pitchers and then make decisions during spring training as to what makes the most sense. Scheppers showed last year that he can handle late-inning relief opportunities. And with Joe Nathan now in Detroit, the closer spot is an open competition.

"I'm just going to go in there in the best shape of my life and be ready for whatever," Scheppers said Saturday as part of the Rangers' winter caravan at Dr Pepper Ballpark in Frisco. "I want to do both. I want to pitch and help this team. It's not my decision to make that call."

No, that will come from pitching coach Mike Maddux, manager Ron Washington and the Rangers' brass after spring training is in full swing. But the club has to figure out how to line up the bullpen, along with determining how the relievers line up at the end of the game. Joakim Soria and Neftali Feliz both have more experience closing than Scheppers. But all three are candidates.

Scheppers earned the job as the club's primary eighth-inning setup man last year and was 6-2 with a 1.88 ERA. He had a 1.07 WHIP and after a rough August, he rebounded in September to give him some momentum over the offseason.

Scheppers knows that Holland's injury means someone else must step up.

"It opens the door for someone," Scheppers said. "There's going to be an opportunity out there. There's a lot of talented guys out there. We've got Colby Lewis that we signed back. We've got Robbie Ross who went to the winter leagues and worked out. There are a lot of great candidates for that."

Nick Tepesch is another internal candidate. And the Rangers are looking externally at some depth options. They have had discussions with Jerome Williams on a short-term deal, so he could also compete for that open spot.

Hot Stove Talk: Jerome Williams

January, 13, 2014
Jan 13
Note: Over the next few days, we'll take a look at some external and internal possibilities for the starting pitching rotation to replace Derek Holland, as the lefty is expected to miss the first half of the season.

Today's pitcher: Jerome Williams

The Rangers have shown interest in Williams this offseason as a depth pitcher in a short-term contract and the club has had discussions with Williams, according to a source. Those discussions could heat up even more with Holland out. Williams makes sense on a one-year deal.

I know what you're thinking: Can Williams, who was 9-10 with a 4.57 ERA in 37 games (25 starts) for the Angels, take the place of Holland? Obviously, Williams didn't put up close to the numbers that Holland did in 2013. But this isn't simply about plugging someone in for Holland. It's also about building depth. The Rangers want to do that in a way that is cost-effective as well. That's where Williams makes sense.

If the 32-year-old is willing to take a one-year deal with incentives, why not see what happens? Bring him to spring training and see what he's got. It's a low-risk situation and, at the very least, Williams would be a candidate to give the club some starts before Holland returns. If other internal candidates show the club more than Williams, he could be a long-relief, spot-starting option.

His numbers aren't overwhelming -- he had a 4.46 ERA in his two-plus seasons with the Angels. But under the right kind of contract, he could give the club some depth and another option in the rotation. And you'd think Williams would be motivated to show he's still got something left so he could try to get one more multi-year contract after the 2014 season.

What do you think of Williams? Any interest?



Adrian Beltre
.324 19 77 79
HRA. Beltre 19
RBIA. Beltre 77
RA. Beltre 79
OPSA. Beltre .879
WC. Lewis 10
ERAC. Lewis 5.18
SOY. Darvish 182