Texas Rangers: Kyle McClellan

Buzz: Soria ready to go after rehab stint

July, 5, 2013
7/05/13
6:02
PM CT
ARLINGTON, Texas -- Rangers reliever Joakim Soria came through his back-to-back appearances with Double-A Frisco in good shape, and all signs point to him being activated this weekend and as early as Saturday night.

Soria needed 15 pitches to get through two eighth-inning appearances for Frisco without allowing a hit. The Rangers haven't said when exactly Soria will be activated, but with a day off from throwing on Friday, the next day makes sense.

"I don't know exactly when I'll be activated," Soria said. "I am ready to go."

McClellan to Frisco: Right-hander Kyle McClellan has accepted his outright assignment with the Rangers and will report to Double-A Frisco on Sunday.

McClellan has a house in the area and preferred to pitch there. He struggled in a brief stint with the Rangers, collecting a 7.71 ERA for nine appearances.

McClellan is less than a year removed from shoulder surgery, so the Rangers are hoping more time will allow him to return to the form he had with the Cardinals for five seasons. He has a career 3.79 ERA in the big leagues.

Lindblom mixing pitches: Right-hander Josh Lindblom's best pitch is his changeup, but in a key situation Thursday night against Seattle, it was his fastball, curveball and cutter that got him a crucial out.

Facing switch hitter Justin Smoak with runners at second and third with no outs, Lindblom stayed away from his changeup because he didn't want to throw a fly-ball pitch and give up a sacrifice fly to put the Rangers behind 4-1. So he went with the cutter and curveball to get to a 3-2 count, then tied up Smoak with a fastball to get a strikeout.

Lindblom got out of the inning by getting Henry Blanco to line out to center field, keeping the Mariners lead at 3-1. The Rangers rallied for four runs in the bottom of the seventh and eventually won 5-4.

"You don't want to go into that at-bat going for a strikeout," Lindblom said. "It's really about executing your pitches and getting a certain type of contact."

Ogando set for rehab start: Right-hander Alexi Ogando will make his first rehab start for Triple-A Round Rock on Saturday as he continues his return from shoulder inflammation.

Buzz: Jeff Baker suffers setback

July, 2, 2013
7/02/13
6:24
PM CT
ARLINGTON, Texas -- Texas Rangers utility man Jeff Baker's right hand is in a new splint after he received a second cortisone shot Monday for his sprained thumb.

Baker went to see a hand specialist Monday after taking five swings in the batting cages Friday afternoon. He was unable to control the bat head. Baker, who injured his thumb during a high-five that went wrong with an unnamed teammate, has been out since June 13.

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The Rangers' initial hope was that Baker wouldn't have to go on the 15-day disabled list, but it hasn't worked out that way, a source of frustration for Baker.

"I’m kind of past the frustration of that," Baker said. "Now it’s just busting my tail and doing whatever I can with treatment and therapy. Our doctors are obviously doing everything they can."

The Rangers miss Baker's right-handed bat in the lineup. He had nine home runs in 82 at-bats. Jurickson Profar, who is batting .257 with three home runs, was in Tuesday's lineup as the designated hitter because manager Ron Washington needed a right-handed bat against Mariners left-handed starter Joe Saunders.

Baker said he'll be in the new splint for three or four days. He's hopeful that the latest shot in the joint area will speed up his recovery.

"It’s like a sprained ankle," Baker said. "You want to try to strengthen it and build it up, but it’s also a pain tolerance [issue]. Any time you have a sprain, you have a tear in there. If you keep beating it up, it’s not going to heal. I tried to push it and progress it to see if I could get past that threshold. Off the tee and soft toss was fine, but during [batting practice] I couldn’t do it."

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Rangers tweak bullpen: The Rangers made a minor adjustment in their bullpen Tuesday, recalling right-hander Josh Lindblom from Triple-A Round Rock and designating Kyle McClellan for assignment.

Lindblom, who has made four starts this season after converting from being a reliever, will give the Rangers two long relievers. Right-hander Ross Wolf, who has excelled in that role, will continue there.

"They both can be used in multiple roles," Washington said. "If we use one on one day, we have another one. The thing about them is when they do come out of the bullpen, they can give us more than one inning, which is what you like to have."

General manager Jon Daniels said the club should know in the next few days if it's likely that McClellan will stay with the organization. McClellan, who had shoulder surgery last July, was pushing himself to get back to the form he had with St. Louis for five seasons.

He is 0-1 with a 7.71 ERA in seven relief appearances since his contract was purchased from Round Rock on June 9. Daniels said the Rangers would like to keep McClellan, but it's his choice.

"Right now, he needs a little bit more time to get the arm strength back," Daniels said. "He was really ahead of schedule from surgery. He’s still less than 12 months off from surgery. In the long-term prognosis, we just felt like he needed a little more time. Maybe we were a little premature in pushing him and bringing him up here."

Wolf, who worked three scoreless innings Saturday after not pitching for two days, could take on a more demanding role, pitching in some short-relief situations. The Rangers have liked how he's reacted to every role they've given him, from spot starter to pitching six-plus innings in an 18-inning game against Toronto last month.

"I just know that I have a guy that knows how to do his role," Washington said. "We sat on him one time eight or nine days, and he still was able to come in and give us four innings. So that's amazing right there."

Profar at DH: Washington said it wasn't easy to put a rookie in the lineup at designated hitter Tuesday, but in need of a right-handed bat, he went with the 20-year-old Profar.

"I needed another right-handed at-bat," Washington said. "I could have gone with [Robinson] Chirinos, but Profar is swinging the bat."

Profar in the outfield: Profar is making progress in the outfield, going through all of the drills, but Washington said his young player isn't ready to start a game yet.

"If there's a blowout either way, I might take a chance and shoot him out there and give him a chance out there under those conditions," Washington said. "I don't think I'll throw him out there and take a chance on him doing something [in a close game].

Beltre OK: Rookie outfielder Engel Beltre wasn't in the lineup Tuesday, but he was available to play.

Beltre, who had a knee-to-knee collision with Cincinnati catcher Devin Mesoraco on Sunday, said he's a little sore but ready to go. He was also hit in the ear on the throw home by Reds pitcher Mat Latos, but he's having no problems and didn't need a concussion test Sunday as he returned to play.

Cotts, Nathan share honor: Relievers Neal Cotts and Joe Nathan finished in a tie for the Rangers June Player of the Month award based on voting by local media members who cover the team on a regular basis.

Cotts was 4-1 with a 0.59 ERA for June as he continued his storybook season after having not pitched in the big leagues since 2010. Nathan had a 0.63 ERA and held opponents to a .133 batting average. The Rangers closer had 11 saves for the month, tying him with Baltimore's Jim Johnson for the big league lead for June.

Lewis update: Rehabbing right-hander Colby Lewis (elbow) threw a 37-pitch bullpen session on Tuesday and will have another one on Thursday. He could be ready for a live batting practice session after that.

Harrison extends: Left-hander Matt Harrison (back surgery) threw 25 times from 120 feet on Tuesday and will continue with that long toss schedule all week.

Rangers recall Josh Lindblom

July, 2, 2013
7/02/13
4:19
PM CT
The Rangers recalled right-handed pitcher Josh Lindblom from Triple-A Round Rock on Tuesday and designated right-handed pitcher Kyle McClellan for assignment.

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Lindblom, 26, will join the Rangers in time for their series opener against the Mariners.

This is Lindblom's third stint with Texas. He got a no-decision in his last outing with the Rangers after giving up two runs in five innings against the A's on June 20. He is 0-2 with a 5.40 in 21 2/3 innings for the Rangers.

McClellan was 0-1 with a 7.71 ERA in seven relief appearances since his contract was purchased from Round Rock on June 9. He allowed runs in each of his final four outings with Texas. The Rangers have 10 days to trade, release or outright McClellan to the minors.

Buzz: Scheppers says he's fine physically

June, 30, 2013
6/30/13
1:26
PM CT
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.

Without Scheppers, Rangers run into trouble

June, 29, 2013
6/29/13
11:28
PM CT
ARLINGTON, Texas -- Nick Tepesch didn't get out of the fifth inning.

Kyle McClellan couldn't get through the bottom of Cincinnati's batting order in the 11th.

And standout reliever Tanner Scheppers wasn't available.

It was one of those nights for Rangers pitchers, the end result a 6-4 loss to the Reds in 11 innings Saturday night.

Where to start? How about the top of the 11th inning.

[+] EnlargeNick Tepesch
Kevin Jairaj/USA TODAY SportsNick Tepesch made it only into the fifth inning, and the Rangers' bullpen couldn't hold on in a loss to the Reds.
With Tepesch lasting only four innings, the Rangers' bullpen was called on early by manager Ron Washington. Ross Wolf gave his team three shutout innings (he did allow an inherited runner to score). Neal Cotts and closer Joe Nathan combined to get the Rangers through the eighth, ninth and 10th innings with the score still tied at 4-all.

Next up, Rangers setup man Scheppers in the 11th inning, right?

Wrong. Scheppers had pitched five times in seven days going back to his last appearance Wednesday night in New York against the Yankees. The Rangers need to be cautious and rest their primary relievers when necessary. This was one of those times.

"I asked for it," Scheppers said after the game when asked about the third straight day off. "When something like this happens, it's unfortunate."

It's part of the process of handling your bullpen. And some days, you have to count on other guys, whether it be Wolf or McClellan. Scheppers could have come in and pitched a scoreless 11th, and McClellan might still have been needed. Bullpen depth matters.

"We check with these guys every day," Washington said. "This was one of those days we decided to stay away from him."

McClellan, an important piece in the St. Louis bullpen for the previous several seasons, had the Rangers down 6-4 after two batters in the top of the 11th. He got up on Reds No. 7 hitter Todd Frazier with two quick strikes. McClellan then went to his out pitch, his curveball, and almost hit Frazier with an 0-2 pitch. After a foul off, McClellan went back to the curveball, only it didn't break and it hit Frazier in the shoulder.

That brought up Reds catcher Devin Mesoraco, who had struck out his first three at-bats and grounded out in the eighth before facing McClellan.

On a rare night when the ball wasn't carrying at Rangers Ballpark -- both A.J. Pierzynski and Mitch Moreland lost potential game-winning home runs to the lack of a jet stream in the eighth and ninth innings -- Mesoraco got a sinker from McClellan that he hammered into the left-field seats.

"I have to gets outs," said McClellan, who was fresh, not having pitched since June 19. "There's no excuse. I did everything to stay sharp. I let the team down. The guys battled all night."

It was just one of those pitching nights. Tepesch, winless in his past seven starts, was handed a 3-2 lead in the fourth inning after the Rangers scored three runs on three Cincinnati errors in the bottom of the third.

Tepesch produced a shutdown top of the fourth. He reached the top of the Reds' order in the fifth, the third time to face the Cincinnati lineup, and that has meant trouble for Tepesch in the first 15 starts of his big league career.

He allowed three consecutive hits, raising his batting average against to .446 for the season the third time through a batting order and beyond.

It's a hurdle the Rangers' rookie right-hander will have to find a way to get over.

"I worked pretty hard," Tepesch said. "I threw a lot of pitches. They saw a lot of pitches."

Holland disappointed with short outing

June, 11, 2013
6/11/13
11:45
PM CT
ARLINGTON, Texas -- For Derek Holland, it was a night that went against the run of statistics.

Unbeaten for 45 days with an ERA trending downward to 2.70 and against a Cleveland Indians team that had never beaten him, Holland was knocked around for nine hits and sent to an early shower in his shortest outing of the season, 4 1/3 innings of a 5-2 Texas Rangers loss Tuesday night before 45,200 at Rangers Ballpark.

[+] EnlargeHolland
Matthew Emmons/USA TODAY SportsDerek Holland was charged with four earned runs in 4 1/3 innings against the Indians, a team that had never beaten him.
Save for a bases-loaded double-play ball induced by reliever Kyle McClellan to end the fifth inning, Holland's numbers could have been a lot worse.

“I’m very disappointed in the way I performed,” Holland said. “I didn’t do my job.”

He was charged with four runs, all earned, and needed 85 pitches to get 13 outs. The lefty's ERA is now 3.11.

“I don’t feel like I had my best fastball and you have to give them credit, they were finding holes,” Holland said.

Trailing 1-0 going into the fifth, Holland (5-3) faced five Indians before getting an out. Leadoff hits by the Nos. 8 and 9 hitters in Terry Francona’s lineup, Yan Gomes and Mike Aviles, foreshadowed the trouble that was to come. An errant Holland pickoff throw to second base set up a two-run single by Drew Stubbs to make it 3-0. Stubbs later scored the fourth run on a base hit by Nick Swisher.

“I give the Indians credit,” Rangers manager Ron Washington said. “They made Derek work and they got the hits that mattered.”

In his youthful past, Holland has been troubled by the “snowball” innings, but he said the fifth didn't really qualify in that category. All but one of the hits he allowed were singles.

“I was still making some pitches,” he said. “You've just got to tip your hat to their hitters. It was just one of those starts that didn't go my way. I'll go home and it will stick with me for awhile, but I'm not going to let one game get me down. There are a lot of games left.”

Rapid Reaction: Indians 5, Rangers 2

June, 11, 2013
6/11/13
10:19
PM CT


ARLINGTON, Texas -- The Texas Rangers gave a big Ballpark crowd of 45,200 on Yu Darvish bobblehead night very little to get excited about in the first seven innings of a 5-2 loss to the Cleveland Indians.

Cleveland right-hander Corey Kluber, a product of Coppell, was superb in his homecoming start, limiting the Rangers to six hits and one run in eight innings.

David Murphy's RBI double in the eighth and A.J. Pierzynski's solo homer off Joe Smith in the ninth -- his fifth -- were minor rewards for those who stuck around.

Grounded offense: Kluber had the Rangers banging the ball into the dirt. Texas hit into 13 ground balls, one turning into a double play. Murphy’s shoe-top liner to third baseman Mark Reynolds was the only out speared in the air in the first four innings and that, too, turned into a double play. Elvis Andrus was running on the play.

The Rangers trailed by five runs by the time they finally nicked Kluber for a run in the eighth inning.

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Short outing: Derek Holland couldn’t have pitched a more impressive first inning, striking out the side. So it was surprising to see the Texas lefty last beaten on April 27 fail to get through five innings. The Indians sent him to an early shower with a nine-hit attack that turned into four runs.

For Holland, the 4.1-inning outing was his shortest of the season. And it turned into his first loss to the Indians in four career decisions.

Streaking Elvis: With a first-inning single, Andrus extended his hitting streak against Cleveland to 34 straight games, tying for the fourth-longest in the majors against one team since 1945. Vladimir Guerrero owns the longest streak, 44 games against the Rangers. Boston’s Jacoby Ellsbury hit in 38 in a row against Baltimore for the No. 2 spot.

Andrus on Tuesday matched the streak of Toronto’s George Bell, who also picked on Cleveland, as did the No. 3 man on the list, Ken Griffey Jr., who hit in 35 straight while a Mariner. Elvis has a chance to match Griffey’s total in Wednesday’s series finale against the Indians.

Costly gamble: Trailing by four runs in the back half of a game, giving up an out on the basepaths is a big no-no. It happened to the Rangers in the sixth. A pair of walks gave the Rangers their first runner in scoring position. But not for long. Leury Garcia tried to tag and advanced to third on a fly ball to left. Garcia was shot down on a strong throw by Michael Brantley and a clever catch-and-tag by Reynolds.

Fear the beard: Reliever Kyle McClellan saved Holland further ERA damage by throwing an inning-ending double-play ball with the bases loaded in the fifth after Cleveland had already scored three runs. It was McClellan's second appearance since promotion from Round Rock on Sunday. McClellan didn't allow a hit in 2.2 innings, the only blemish on his impressive outing a wild pitch that scored the Indians' fifth run in the seventh inning.

Don’t mess with Murph: Carlos Santana unwisely tried to take an extra base on Murphy in the second inning. Chalk up the third outfield assist of the season for the Rangers left fielder. Murphy went into the left-center alley to glove Santana’s hit and made an accurate throw to second baseman Garcia in plenty of time to apply a tag.

The outfield assist was the 36th for Murphy since becoming a Ranger in 2007.

Buzz: Texas won't look back to 2012 disaster in Oakland

May, 13, 2013
5/13/13
9:07
PM CT
OAKLAND, Calif. -- The last time the Texas Rangers played the Oakland Athletics at the O.co Coliseum, they needed one win in their three-game, season-ending series to capture the American League West crown.

The Rangers lost all three games and watched as the A's won the West, capping a remarkable comeback. Oakland trailed Texas by 13 games on June 30 and passed them on the season's final day.

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The Rangers will face Oakland for the first time Monday night since that disastrous series. But they're not looking back.

"That was last year," Rangers second baseman Ian Kinsler said before Monday night's game. "This is a different year. All we want to do is regain our A.L. West division championship. That's really all we want to do. Right now it goes through Oakland. They're the division champs from last year, and we have to play well and be ready to play."

Rangers manager Ron Washington said this three-game series will have nothing to do with "revenge."

"We're here to win a ball game," Washington said. "They beat us. There's nothing we can do about that.

“When you start playing for revenge, you stop seeing what's in front of you."

At this point, the future looks bright for the Rangers. At 24-13, they're six games ahead of the 19-20 A's entering this series.

"We've been here so many times," Rangers left fielder David Murphy said. "We've had probably more good times than we've had bad times or, I guess, the one bad time that you'd think about from last year. It's a new group of guys. They have a new group of guys. We're playing for 2013, not 2012."

Pierzynski making progress: Catcher A.J. Pierzynski, who's on disabled list with a strained right oblique muscle, hit off a tee for the first time since being injured and played catch for a second straight day.

"Took 40 swings off a tee," Pierzynski said. "Went pretty good. I threw. A full workout. Ready to go. The next step is to hit some flips, hit some batting practice and then hopefully be back next Tuesday when I'm eligible."
Pierzynski said he expects to take live batting practice Thursday when the Rangers return to Arlington. He said he's still not sure if he'll need to go on a rehab assignment before being activated.

Murphy still rolling: Murphy was in the starting lineup for the second straight game Monday night, two days after badly bruising his back. Murphy ran into the left field wall in the eighth inning Saturday against the Houston Astros while trying to catch Robbie Grossman's double. He stayed in the game and started Sunday against Houston.

"It's OK," Murphy said of his back. "It hurts a little bit. It's progressively getting better. There is a pretty big bruise. Not so much today, but yesterday and right after I did it, I was wondering a little bit if it was fractured or not."

Murphy said he did not have X-rays taken on his back.

Washington said he is "comfortable" with having Murphy in the starting lineup and has no plans to take him out late for defensive purposes.

"He's fine," Washington said.

Comeback trail: Right-hander Kyle McClellan, who suffered a strained right lat muscle during spring training, made his first appearance Monday at extended spring training. He pitched one inning Monday. McClellan, formerly with the St. Louis Cardinals, signed a minor-league contract with the Rangers on Jan. 15. He underwent season-ending shoulder surgery in July, but looked impressive during a brief stint in spring training before being injured.

Colby Lewis, Martin Perez intensify rehab

April, 30, 2013
4/30/13
3:27
PM CT
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ARLINGTON, Texas -- Rehabbing pitchers Colby Lewis and Martin Perez will increase their workloads this week as they ramp things up at extended spring training in Surprise, Ariz.

Lewis, who threw an inning Sunday, will go two innings in an extended spring game Saturday. Perez will throw three innings in a game Wednesday.

Lewis could go out on a rehab assignment after Saturday's outing provided there are no setbacks, Rangers general manager Jon Daniels said Tuesday. Once he goes out, he has 30 days in the minors to rehab.

Other rehab updates:

  • Right-hander Neftali Feliz is throwing out to 105 feet.

  • Right-hander Kyle McClellan will throw a bullpen session Wednesday.

  • Reliever Joakim Soria, who has a strained pectoral muscle in his chest, has yet to restart a throwing program.
  • Buzz: Reliever Soria suffers minor setback

    April, 19, 2013
    4/19/13
    7:10
    PM CT
    ARLINGTON, Texas -- Rehabbing reliever Joakim Soria suffered a pectoral muscle strain in his chest while throwing batting practice Friday in Surprise, Ariz. at extended spring training.

    The Rangers don't think it's serious, and it has nothing to with his arm -- Soria is returning from Tommy John ligament replacement surgery.

    "He's going great as far as his arm," Rangers general manager Jon Daniels said. "It could be a day or two. It could be longer. We're going to wait and see how it feels after the weekend before we know exactly what kind of impact it will have on his timetable. It has nothing to do with his arm, and that's a good thing."

    Other Rangers notes:

    More on rehabbing pitchers: Left-hander Martin Perez will begin throwing live batting practice in 7-10 days as he continues rehabbing from a broken left wrist. Right-hander Kyle McClellan, who has a strained right lat muscle, is scheduled to throw on a mound for the first time on May 1.

    The Rangers are also excited about right-hander Colby Lewis, who has one or two more batting practice sessions to throw before the Rangers can begin looking to get him out on a rehab assignment.

    "He continues to report to feeling really good," Daniels said. "Our pitching coaches are really happy with his progress. He's every bit of on schedule right now."

    Berkman back in lineup: Designated hitter Lance Berkman said his surgically-repaired right knee is sore but that he could play a full nine innings at first base when needed.

    "I can do it," Berkman said. "I have had some trouble with my knee being sore just from DHing, so I'm a little bit hesitant to say, 'yeah, I can run out there and play three or four nights in a row.' But if you said we absolutely have to have you play first base for a game, I can do it."

    Berkman said he didn't have trouble with the knee in spring training, but it is sore after 15 games. "It's definitely worse than it was in spring training," he said. "But it's probably the weather conditions we've been playing in. Cold, wet, barometric pressure."

    Washington talks to Borbon: Rangers manager Ron Washington said he spoke briefly with outfielder Julio Borbon, who was claimed on waivers by the Chicago Cubs on Friday. Borbon was the Rangers' Opening Day center fielder in 2010 and '11.

    "I told him he doesn't have to prove anything," Washington said. "He's already a big leaguer."

    None left on: Thursday's game was the eighth time in club history in which the Rangers didn't leave a man on base. It hadn't happened since July 7, 2007.

    Levine: Rehabbing pitchers on schedule

    April, 16, 2013
    4/16/13
    3:55
    PM CT
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    Texas Rangers assistant general manager Thad Levine said Tuesday that the five pitchers in Surprise, Ariz. on rehabilitation programs "all are progressing on schedule."

    Colby Lewis and Joakim Soria both threw 30-pitch live batting practice sessions Tuesday. Lewis, who is coming back from flexor pronator surgery last July, and Soria, who had Tommy John surgery last April, are getting closer to pitching in extended spring training games.

    Right-hander Neftali Feliz, who had Tommy John surgery last August, is throwing from 105 feet. He is not ready to throw off a mound yet. Left-hander Martin Perez, who suffered a broken left wrist on March 4, is throwing 30-35 pitch bullpen sessions.

    Right-hander Kyle McClellan, who strained a rib cage muscle during spring training, is throwing out to 120 feet as he gets closer to throwing off a mound.

    A few questions still remain for the Rangers

    March, 27, 2013
    3/27/13
    5:33
    PM CT
    TEMPE, Ariz. -- While the Texas Rangers wrapped up the Arizona portion of their major league spring training schedule Wednesday, the team still has three preseason games remaining. Many questions have been answered, but with only a few days until Opening Day in Houston on Sunday, there are a few more items to keep an eye on until then.

    Fifth starter

    Manager Ron Washington announced after Wednesday's game that Alexi Ogando is his No. 3 starter and Derek Holland is the No. 4. Holland will start the home opener April 5 against the Angels, but Washington said that did not play into his decision at all. Nick Tepesch earned the fifth-starter job out of training camp, but that was largely because choices were limited by the spring injuries to Martin Perez and Kyle McClellan, and because Colby Lewis is still recovering from surgery. Lewis and Perez could be back by the end of May. Will one of them unseat Tepesch? Good outings between now and then would make the choice much easier. Tepesch struggled in his previous two spring outings when he faced better-caliber hitters, but he pitched well Wednesday in a minor league game for Round Rock (Triple-A).

    Outfield

    We know Leonys Martin and Craig Gentry will share time in center and also see time in the outfield corners. We still don't know who will start Opening Day or who will see more playing time, as manager Ron Washington said he isn't announcing a platoon. Outfield is a strong position for Texas, so this is a case of finding time for good players instead of making the best of a bad situation.

    Julio Borbon remains in purgatory, as he is out of options and cannot be sent to the minors. President of baseball operations/general manager Jon Daniels said he has talked to teams about Borbon and there is interest. The Rangers will try to trade him before making a roster decision. The Rangers might keep Borbon when they break camp, adding an extra bat to their roster until they need to officially sign Tepesch as the fifth starter for the April 9 game against Tampa. That window will be much tighter if Texas decides to add an eighth reliever instead.

    Bullpen

    The final two of the seven bullpen slots have not been announced. Those will fall into place after the Rangers decide whether they want to take an extra arm or bat until the April 9 game. If they go with a bat, the final two will be named. If they go with an arm, three more will get the nod. Whoever they choose might be placeholders for Joakim Soria and Neftali Feliz, who are both expected to join the bullpen later this season.

    Infield

    Leury Garcia earned the backup middle-infield role, meaning top prospect Jurickson Profar will begin the season in the minors. The question is, how long will Profar stay there? If Garcia struggles -- remember, he is a rookie, too -- will Profar get the nod? Also, Profar has only 33 days of service time, and allowing him to get more experience at Triple-A stops the clock for a longer period of time. With three Gold Glove players in the Texas infield, there is no rush to bring the super rookie up. However, if he tears up Triple-A pitching, the temptation to have him in Arlington might be too strong to resist.

    Notes: Rangers ready to head home

    March, 27, 2013
    3/27/13
    2:25
    PM CT
    TEMPE, Ariz. -- The Texas Rangers will leave Arizona immediately after today's game in Tempe against the Los Angeles Angels, wrapping up another slate of Cactus League games and workouts at their facility in Surprise.

    Spring training was extended by two weeks due to the World Baseball Classic, and games began only a few days after camp opened. The culmination of that long spring came Tuesday when the team announced a series of roster moves, as the Rangers now have identified 22 of the 25 players who will be on the Opening Day roster for Sunday night's contest in Houston.

    "The spring went extremely well this year," manager Ron Washington said. "As we went deeper into the spring, we improved as a team. I thought we progressed the way I figured we'd progress. We were slow in the beginning and picked it up as we went along, but I expected it. Especially since we only had a few days before the first game. We were playing in February when we were still trying to work out the kinks."

    The Rangers head back to Texas to play an exhibition game in Arlington against the Mexico City Red Devils at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington on Thursday night. The scheduled game against the Arizona Diamondbacks in Surprise on Thursday will feature only minor league players.

    Texas then will head to San Antonio for a pair of games Friday and Saturday in the Alamodome before beginning the regular season the following night against the Astros in a game that will be televised nationally on ESPN.

    Other team notes:

  • Washington said he thinks his initial choice for an eighth-inning reliever would be either Robbie Ross or Michael Kirkman. He also said that won't preclude others such as Jason Frasor from seeing time in the eighth, but Ross and Kirkman likely will be his first options out of the chute.

  • The official announcement of the No. 3 and No. 4 starters to open the season is expected today. The projected order is Alexi Ogando at No. 3 with Derek Holland pitching the home opener April 5.

    Washington also said the Rangers have not decided whether they will carry an extra pitcher or position player until they need to make room for a fifth starter April 9.

    "I think we'll come up with that between before we head to San Antonio," Washington said. "It might be after, but somewhere in there we'll make the decision."

  • Nate Robertson is taking his reassignment to Round Rock (Triple-A) in stride. The big left-hander had a very good spring that saw him reinvent his delivery. The results paid off, as he allowed just two runs in 11 innings, good for a 1.64 ERA.

    Washington compared Robertson's transition to a more control-oriented delivery to that of Frank Tanana, who underwent a similar transformation and extended his career with a few more successful seasons before hanging up his glove.

    Robertson hasn't pitched with a big league club since 2010 and even saw time in independent baseball last season, but he sees his successful training camp as a springboard to continue his quest to return to the majors. Robertson had an option to ask for his release but instead accepted his minor league assignment.

    "I haven't even gauged interest from other teams, which I think shows my desire to remain in this organization," Robertson said. "I have to weigh the other factors too if there is an opportunity to extend my career someplace else, but I'm just going to let that play out.

    "I still have a desire to play this game so I'm not going home."

  • Michael Kirkman was originally slated to start Wednesday, but recent waiver addition Brad Mills will take the mound to begin the game against his former team instead. Mills was acquired Sunday from the Angels. Kirkman is scheduled as the second pitcher and will throw two or three innings as opposed to the five that were originally planned.

    Injury notes:

  • RHP Kyle McClellan is 15 days into a projected three- to four-week period of not throwing due to a strained right lat muscle. Once cleared, he will begin a long-toss and flat-ground throwing program.

  • LHP Martin Perez has been cleared to begin a throwing program once he is pain free. He is no longer wearing protective gear on the arm. Perez is anticipated to begin throwing next week.

  • RHP Joakim Soria continues recovery from his second Tommy John surgery and is throwing bullpen sessions. Barring any setback, he will begin throwing live batting practices the week of April 8.

  • RHP Colby Lewis (flexor tendon surgery) is on the same time frame as Soria for beginning to throw live BP, again barring any setbacks. He also is throwing bullpen sessions.

  • C Eli Whiteside has left the team for personal reasons not related to his recent assignment to Round Rock (Triple-A).
  • Notes: Jeff Baker earns roster spot with strong play

    March, 25, 2013
    3/25/13
    3:01
    PM CT
    PEORIA, Ariz. -- An amazing spring training paid off for utility man Jeff Baker, who has made the Texas Rangers manager, Ron Washington announced Monday.

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    Baker played for three teams in 2012 and in January signed a minor-league contract with Texas as a free agent, which included an invite to spring training.

    "I told him this morning that he made the team," Washington said. "I haven't had that veteran presence (on the bench) that can make a difference, and that is a role he has played. He knows how to stay ready. What I've seen this spring is he has passed some of that experience on to the younger guys. He is always holding court. It's what we had when we had Omar Vizquel here."

    Baker typically doesn't log frequent at-bats during the season, instead often seeing time as a late-inning replacement or getting a spot start for a regular who is getting the day off.

    The 31-year old received plenty of playing time this spring and made the most of the opportunity. Baker turned heads, especially with his offense, and was on a hitting tear that lasted nearly three weeks. At one point he was 20-for-40 (.500) and reached base in eight consecutive plate appearances. Even after a relative cool streak during the last week, Baker still ranks among the Cactus Leaders in several offensive categories.

    It is one of the contradictions of spring training that good performances are downplayed because the statistics don't count, yet jobs are won and lost based on those same performances.

    The six-year MLB veteran has carved out a nice career because of his versatility, as he can play five positions: first, second, third, left and right field. Baker likely won't see much time at third but will be used at the other positions.

    Baker is scratched from Monday's game with a sinus infection. He also missed Sunday's game against Cincinnati and was pulled from Saturday's contest in the third inning because of the ailment.

    More team notes:

  • LHP Derek Holland will pitch in his first 'A' game with the Rangers since Feb. 28. Holland represented Team USA in the World Baseball Classic, pitching in one game March 10 against Canada. He returned and made a start in a minor league game for Round Rock (AAA) on March 19. Holland tossed five innings, allowing five runs on nine hits with two walks sand three strikeouts.

  • RHP Joe Nathan, LHP Nate Robertson and RHP Cory Burns are all expected to appear in a minor league game for Round Rock (AAA) today in Surprise.

  • LHP Brad Mills was in major league camp today after. The 28-year old was claimed off waivers from the Los Angeles Angles, the team announced Sunday, and was added to the major league roster. To make room on the 40-man roster, Neftali Feliz was placed on the 60-day disabled list.

  • LHP Matt Harrison will start Tuesday's game as the Rangers reset their rotation in preparation of their home opener Sunday in Houston. The team will not use the fifth starter slot any more this spring and won't do so during the regular season until April 9. RHP Nick Tepesch will throw Wednesday.

    Injury notes:

  • RHP Kyle McClellan is nearly two weeks into a projected 3-4 week period of not throwing due to a strained right lat muscle. One cleared, he will begin a long-toss and flat-ground throwing program.

  • LHP Martin Perez has been cleared to begin a throwing program once he is pain free. He is no longer wearing protective gear on the arm. Perez is anticipated to begin throwing next week.

  • RHP Joakim Soria continues his recovery from his second Tommy John surgery. Barring any setback, he will begin throwing live batting practices the week of April 8.

  • RHP Colby Lewis (flexor tendon surgery) is on the same time frame as Soria for beginning to throw live BP, again barring any setback.
  • Rangers pitchers progressing in rehab

    March, 24, 2013
    3/24/13
    3:20
    PM CT
    SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Four injured Texas Rangers pitchers were examined by team physician Dr. Keith Meister, who said all are progressing in their recoveries.

    RHP Kyle McClellan is nearly two weeks into a projected 3-4 week period of not throwing due to a strained right lat muscle. Once cleared, he will begin a long-toss and flat-ground throwing program.

    LHP Martin Perez has been cleared to begin a throwing program once he is pain-free. Perez said this morning that the fractured ulna bone in his left forearm is feeling better. He is no longer wearing any protective gear on the arm. Perez is anticipated to begin throwing next week.

    RHP Joakim Soria continues recovery from his second Tommy John surgery. Barring any setback, he will begin throwing live batting practices the week of April 8.

    RHP Colby Lewis (flexor tendon surgery) is on the same time frame as Soria for beginning to throw live BP, again barring any setback.

    Other team notes:
    • The Rangers also announced on Sunday that the club has received left-handed pitcher Brad Mills on a waiver claim from the Los Angeles Angels.

      Mills, 28, will join the Rangers later today or tomorrow and has been added to the major league roster. To make room on the 40-man roster, right-handed pitcher Neftali Feliz was placed on the 60-day disabled list.

      The left-hander was 1-0 with a 6.00 ERA (6.0 IP, 5 H, 4 ER, 1 BB, 2 SO) in three games and one start for the Angels this spring. He pitched six innings in a minor league game in his last outing on Thursday.

      Mills spent most of 2012 at Triple-A Salt Lake, posting a 5-10 record with a 5.86 ERA in 19 starts and 21 overall appearances. He made one spot start for Los Angeles, throwing five shutout innings on July 8 vs. Baltimore to earn his first major league victory since Aug. 5, 2011.

      In 15 career appearances with the Blue Jays and Angels, including 10 starts, Mills is 3-3 with a 7.76 ERA.

      Feliz, 24, was placed on the 15-day disabled list on May 19 with right elbow inflammation and did not pitch again in 2012 before undergoing Tommy John ligament replacement surgery on Aug. 1. He is continuing to rehab from the surgery.
    • Alexi Ogando will start Sunday's game against the Cincinnati Reds ahead of presumed No. 3 starter Derek Holland, who will take the mound on Monday. Holland is getting back on his normal throwing schedule after playing with Team USA in the World Baseball Classic. The Rangers have not made an official announcement on their No. 3 and 4 starters, only committing to Matt Harrison, as the No. 1 and Yu Darvish as the No. 2. Today's other scheduled pitchers are LHP Nate Robertson, RHP Joe Nathan and RHP Cory Burns.
    • Michael Kirkman will continue to be stretched out in case the Rangers decide to use him as the fifth starter when camp breaks, although he is not being called an official candidate for the role. The Rangers won't need their fifth starter until April 9 due to two early off days. Derek Lowe also continues to be stretched out with rookie Nick Tepesch as the only official in-house candidate for the job.
    • When asked who has been the biggest surprise in camp this season, manager Ron Washington said outfielder Craig Gentry.

      "He figured out how to get through a baseball and figured out how good he can be and is just letting it go," Washington said. "He is showing me a total game. He is daring on the base paths now. Him having a successful year like he had last year, and another year of baseball under his belt, is understanding what his game is, and he's not afraid of showing that."
    • Washington was also asked the best person he was ever around in the clubhouse.

      "1977 Dodgers -- Reggie Smith, Davey Lopes, Steve Garvey, Rick Monday, Ron Cey," Washington said. "Those are the best guys I've been around. Those are the guys that taught me how to be a major league player.

      "Dutsy Baker was the one single guy when I got to the big leagues that took care of me. He just gravitated to me and made sure what I needed was there."
    • Texas is one game above .500 for the fourth time this spring and is yet to reach two games above in spring training.
    • The Rangers released nine players from minor league camp: RHP Andrew Benes, 2B/SS Santiago Chrino, 1B Andrew Clark, RHP Joucer Martinez, RHP Steve McKinnon, LHP Scott Olsen, RHP Chance Sossaman, LHP Pedro Tirado and RHP Brett Weibley.
    • Today's game marks the second and final game between the Rangers and Reds this spring. They played for the first time on Saturday, with Texas winning 6-2 at Goodyear Ballpark.
    • Jeff Baker remains out of the Rangers lineup with a sinus infection. He was removed from Saturday's game in the third inning due to the condition.
    • After Sunday's contest, Texas has only three spring games remaining in Arizona. The Rangers will also play the Arizona Diamondbacks in Surprise on March 28, but Texas will only use minor leaguers in that matchup. The team has a second game scheduled for March 28 at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington against the Mexico City Red Devils. Texas then plays a pair of contests on March 29 and 30 at the Alamodome in San Antonio before opening the regular season on March 31 in Houston.

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