Texas Rangers: Ross Wolf

Ross Wolf ops out, will play in Korea

December, 13, 2013
12/13/13
5:03
PM CT
The Texas Rangers announced Friday that right-handed pitcher Ross Wolf exercised an out in his contract so that he can play with SK Wyverns in the Korean Baseball Organization.

Wolf had cleared waivers and was outrighted to the minors on Nov. 4. He re-signed with Texas that same day on a minor-league deal with an invitation to spring training.

Wolf, 31, was 1-3 with a 4.15 ERA in 22 appearances (three starts) for the Rangers last season. It was the first time he had pitched in the majors since 2007. He was on the Rangers' 25-man roster for much of the final four months of the season.

Nelson Cruz has week to decide on offer

November, 4, 2013
11/04/13
4:40
PM CT
The Texas Rangers made it official Monday, tendering a $14.1 million qualifying offer to outfielder Nelson Cruz prior to today's 4 p.m. deadline.

The move wasn't a tough decision for the club. It's likely not a tough one for Cruz, either. He's expected to decline the option and seek a multiyear deal. He has until next Monday at 4 p.m. to make his decision. But don't misunderstand: If he spurns the one-year, $14.1 million offer, it doesn't mean he's not wearing a Rangers uniform in 2014.

The Rangers, like any other team, would have the right to negotiate with Cruz. He said prior to the season ending that he wanted to test the market. But he's also made it clear he likes Texas and wants to stay. The club needs a power hitter and it knows Cruz well. It may simply come down to what the market will bear and how many years are on the table.

Of course, if Cruz decides he wants to play in Texas and for $14.1 million next season, the Rangers would gladly pay it and put him out there with Leonys Martin and Alex Rios, filling one of their offseason holes. Stay tuned.

Cruz was the only Ranger to receive a qualifying offer. The others -- David Murphy, Colby Lewis, A.J. Pierzynski and Geovany Soto -- can sign with any club, including Texas. If they do go elsewhere, the Rangers won't receive any kind of draft pick compensation. Joe Nathan is also a free agent after he declined the club option on his contract last week.

Other notes:

* The Rangers reinstated left-handed pitchers Matt Harrison and Edwar Cabrera from the 60-day DL. Harrison made two starts and ended up having three surgeries in 2013. He's expected to be ready for the 2014 season. Cabrera was claimed off Colorado's roster in October.

* RHP Ross Wolf and LHP Travis Blackley cleared waivers and were outrighted to the minor leagues. Wolf was signed to a 2014 minor league contract with an invitation to big league spring training. Blackley elected to become a free agent.

Wolf, 31, was 1-3 with a 4.15 ERA in 22 games (three of them starts) for the Rangers in 2013. It was his first season in the majors since 2007.

* The Rangers have 34 players on the 40-man roster now.

* RHP Lisalverto Bonilla, because of an injury to a pitcher from another organization, was added to the roster of the Surprise Saguaros in the Arizona Fall League. He's active starting tonight. Surprise's last game is Nov. 14.

Buzz: Neftali Feliz to be activated Sunday

August, 31, 2013
8/31/13
6:39
PM CT
ARLINGTON, Texas -- Neftali Feliz was back with the Texas Rangers on Saturday and will be activated Sunday, 13 months after undergoing Tommy John ligament replacement surgery.

Feliz is one of four players within the organization expected to be added Sunday when rosters are expanded for the final month of the season. Designated hitter Lance Berkman and pitchers Nick Tepesch and Michael Kirkman also are expected to be activated off the disabled list.

Feliz said Saturday that it's taken a lot of patience, being stuck in the hot summer in Arizona and then spending a month rehabbing with Triple-A Round Rock. He feels he's close to his old self after not allowing a run in 8⅔ innings for Triple-A Round Rock.

"I'm about 95 to 97 percent," Feliz said. "The more I throw the better I feel."

Joakim Soria, who has become an important member of the Rangers' bullpen after recovering from Tommy John surgery, helped Feliz during the tough times.

"He said, 'Don't be afraid,'" Feliz said.

The Rangers have had good reports on Feliz, from his command and velocity to his changeup. General manager Jon Daniels said Friday that Feliz has been more focused on pitching than trying to light up the radar gun.

"I'm trying to keep my pitches down," Feliz said. "Breaking ball and fastball down."

Look for Tepesch to join the bullpen after being on the disabled list since July 6 with right elbow inflammation. That plan is subject to change depending on current fifth starter Travis Blackley's performance and matchups.

"Don't be surprised if you see [Tepesch] start," manager Ron Washington said.

Tepesch pitched four scoreless innings for Double-A Frisco on Friday, allowing four hits and walking one. He threw 59 pitches.

Left-hander Michael Kirkman allowed five runs in 5⅓ innings and threw 100 pitches in a start for Round Rock on Friday.

Who else is coming?: The Rangers are expected to add several more players to their expanded roster after Round Rock's season is over on Monday.

Right-hander Ross Wolf, catcher Robinson Chirinos and outfielder Jim Adduci will be added. Another outfielder, Engel Beltre, could join the club.

Adduci has been on a tear over the past month, batting .483 for August with a .465 on-base percentage. He's also a good runner who will help in pinch-running situations.

Darvish must push on: Rangers ace Yu Darvish has lost a two-run lead on home runs his past two starts against the Chicago White Sox and the Minnesota Twins in the sixth and seventh innings, respectively.

That's two starts in a row in which an American League bottom-dweller has gotten Darvish. Washington will continue to go with Darvish deep into games. It's up to his ace to push through tough situations, he said.

"He has to figure out a way to get through it," Washington said. "No way [will he pull Darvish early]. He's a bona fide pitcher. It's random. He's never had issues getting through a ballgame in his career. He's going to have to figure it out."

Ogando needs another pen: Alexi Ogando threw 35 pitches in a bullpen session Saturday and said he'll need one more before he's ready to be activated from the disabled list.

Ogando has been out for two weeks with inflammation in his right elbow. No decision has been made on whether Ogando will start or come out of the bullpen.

"I don't know what the plan is for me," Ogando said. "It's their decision."

Short hops: Class A Hickory third baseman Joey Gallo had his second three-home run game this season on Friday night, giving him 38 long balls on the season … The Rangers entered the final day of August with 38 stolen bases, their fourth-highest monthly total in club history. The record is 42 from June 1978.

Buzz: Bench production keys rise to first

August, 18, 2013
8/18/13
12:52
PM CT
ARLINGTON, Texas -- The Texas Rangers' consistent bench production hasn't been lost on manager Ron Washington, who has used platoons and pinch hitters more than ever this season, his seventh in Texas.

"We haven't had this bench since we've been here," Washington said.

Rangers pinch hitters have 21 hits in their 64 at-bats (.344) and they've been on base even more than that. The bench helped win a game Wednesday against Milwaukee and could easily have won Friday's game against Seattle.

Craig Gentry had an important two-run double in a pinch-hit situation in Saturday's 15-3 victory. It turned a 5-3 lead into a 7-3 advantage. Gentry has a single, double and two walks in his past four pinch-hit appearances.

Jeff Baker is 1-for-2 with a walk in his past three pinch-hit chances. Gentry and Baker have helped Washington give David Murphy a chance to get going against right-handers only with other options in left field against southpaws.

"With Baker and Gentry and [Murphy's] struggles, all of that is coming into play," Washington said. "I have to have Gentry and Baker in there. But if you asked Murphy, he wants to be facing everybody. Right now with the roster and the way things are going, this is working well."

A trustworthy bench has allowed Washington to keep his regulars fresh and his bench players sharp.

"Nobody's been complaining about playing time so it helps to move people around and give everybody a chance," Washington said. "We're giving them opportunities. In the past we didn't have too many guys you would pinch hit for. And this is the best we've had."

(Read full post)

Alexi Ogando could miss next start

August, 16, 2013
8/16/13
5:16
PM CT
ARLINGTON, Texas -- Texas Rangers right-hander Alexi Ogano has inflammation in a nerve near his right shoulder and could miss at least one start.

PODCAST
ESPN Insider and senior MLB analyst Jim Bowden joins Fitzsimmons and Durrett for his weekly segment to discuss the Rangers and MLB replay.

Listen Listen
Ogando's CT scan was sent to Dr. James Andrews for a second opinion Friday. The Rangers hope to get a report back Friday night. The scan was sent to Dr. Andrews in Birmingham, Ala., per Ogando's choice.

Ogando could receive an injection this weekend, which would rule him out for Monday's start against Houston.

"It's headed that way, but he hasn't been ruled out (for the start)," Rangers general manager Jon Daniels said.

The Rangers haven't decided who would fill in for Ogando if he can't make Monday's start. Right-hander Ross Wolf, who is currently the long man out of bullpen, could get the call. Triple-A Round Rock pitchers Josh Lindblom and Travis Blackley could also get the start.

Daniels said that there doesn't appear to be any structural damage with Ogando's shoulder. This is the second time since June that Ogando has had shoulder inflammation.

Ogando was on the 15-day disabled list for six weeks from June 6 to July 23. He's 1-2 with a 4.68 ERA for five starts since coming back.

Ogando was also on the DL for three weeks from May 16 to June 5 with right biceps tendinitis.

It leaves the Rangers in a position to decide whether Ogando is a starter or a reliever going forward. Because of the injuries, he's made only 15 starts this season.

"It's something we'll think about more in the offseason," Daniels said. "He was very good as a starter in 2011. He was OK out of the bullpen last year. He wasn't as dominant as we had seen in the past. He's probably been a little more inconsistent this year. I'm not sure it's the role. I know that's the popular theory. I'm not sure we really know that."

Rangers' starting woes show up again

July, 20, 2013
7/20/13
11:32
PM CT
ARLINGTON, Texas -- The Texas Rangers wanted Chicago Cubs right-hander Matt Garza to start Saturday night's game against Baltimore.

Their desire to have the trade done now instead of later showed up in a 7-4 loss to the Orioles at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington.

The Rangers are a man down -- or maybe two -- when it comes to starting pitching. They know it, and general manager Jon Daniels is trying to do something about it.

That weakness was glaring against a potent Baltimore lineup, which rocked fill-in starter Ross Wolf for seven runs. The Orioles had built a 7-0 lead with no outs in the third inning when Wolf was pulled from the game by manager Ron Washington.

Good pitching can slow down a great lineup. Texas didn't get that on Friday night, and that's no fault of Wolf, who has saved the Rangers on several occasions out of the bullpen this season.

This is about starting pitching, the lifeline of any contending team.

The Rangers have one win from a starter other than Derek Holland and Martin Perez since Yu Darvish beat Cincinnati on June 30. They are 6-9 during that span.

Going back further, they are 20-23 since the start of June. The Rangers have six wins from Holland and Perez, and four from Darvish, Justin Grimm and Nick Tepesch. Texas has a 5.14 ERA in that time.

"Obviously it hasn't been good," manager Ron Washington said of his team's starting pitching. "There have been some growing pains in that six weeks. We just have to grind through it."

The Rangers gave the ball to Wolf on Saturday night thinking he could grind his way through a Baltimore offense that is third in the American League in runs and first in homers. Wolf retired five of the 16 batters he faced.

He gave up runs in all three innings he pitched. He faced four batters in the top of the third, already down 3-0, and all four of them scored. Orioles cleanup hitter Adam Jones started the third inning with a 421-foot home run to center field.

"I got away from what I do best, compete," Wolf said. "I started nibbling. That's a team you can't make a mistake against."

Texas is a team that can't fall behind. The Rangers found that out during a six-game losing streak in June. They had scored more than two runs once in their past six games coming into Saturday, their only win during that stretch.

The Texas offense had an early chance to get to Baltimore starter Miguel Gonzalez and didn't. The Rangers had three hits in the second inning and didn't score.

They did rally against the Orioles' bullpen as David Murphy's two-run single off former teammate Tommy Hunter in the bottom of the eighth cut the Baltimore lead to 7-4.

The Rangers were able to get the tying run to the plate with two outs in the bottom of the ninth on singles by Nelson Cruz and Adrian Beltre, but Orioles closer Jim Johnson was able to get catcher A.J. Pierzynski to ground out to second to end the game.

It left the Rangers hoping that the late-inning rally will ignite the offense on Sunday. With a lethargic beginning after the All-Star break, they need it.

"We're still just getting some of the rust off from the All-Star break," Murphy said. "It was good to see the offense chip away late in the game."

Rapid Reaction: Orioles 7, Rangers 4

July, 20, 2013
7/20/13
10:46
PM CT


ARLINGTON, Texas -- The Texas Rangers are off to a slow start after the All-Star break. Baltimore jumped on Texas early and held off a late rally for a 7-4 victory on Saturday night.

The Rangers remained two games behind Oakland in the American League West. The Athletics lost for the second straight night to the Los Angeles Angels.

Not afraid of Big Bad Wolf: The Orioles jumped all over Rangers No. 5 starter Ross Wolf for seven runs and nine hits in two innings. Wolf, who has been outstanding in multiple roles for Texas, retired five of the 16 batters he faced. Wolf put the Rangers behind 2-0 in the first inning, allowing three consecutive singles to Adam Jones, Chris Davis and Matt Wieters. Jones started a four-run third inning with a 421-foot home run to straightaway center field.

Cruz's night: Nelson Cruz had an adventure in right field. He mistimed his jump on a deep fly ball to right field that turned into a triple for Orioles leadoff hitter Nate McLouth in the second inning. He scored on Manny Machado's single. Then in the fourth inning Brian Roberts hit a line shot over Cruz's head for a two-run single, giving the Birds a 7-0 lead.

Bright spot: Jurickson Profar, in the lineup as the designated hitter, had singles in his first two at-bats. Profar entered the game with six hits in his past 40 at-bats.

Bright spot II: David Murphy had three more hits on Saturday night and is 4-for-5 so far after the All-Star break. His two-run single in the bottom of the eighth off former Ranger Tommy Hunter cut Baltimore's lead to 7-4. Murphy also had singles in the second and seventh innings.

Bright spot III: Ivan "Pudge" Rodriguez was inducted into the Texas Rangers Hall of Fame before Saturday night's game against the Baltimore Orioles. Rodriguez was presented with a Hall of Fame plaque in a pregame ceremony. Other Rangers Hall of Fame members on hand were Nolan Ryan, Jim Sundberg, Rusty Greer and John Wetteland.

Rangers finally score: Murphy had a single and Leonys Martin a double to set up the Rangers' first run. Ian Kinsler had a sacrifice fly to cut the Orioles' lead to 7-1.

Up next: The Rangers try to avoid a sweep when left-hander Martin Perez (3-2, 3.00 ERA) faces Baltimore right-hander Chris Tillman (11-3, 3.95) at 6:05 p.m. Sunday night on Fox Sports Southwest and ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM and 1540-AM.

Matchup: Ross Wolf vs. Miguel Gonzalez

July, 20, 2013
7/20/13
1:00
PM CT
ARLINGTON, Texas -- The Rangers try to even a three-game series with Baltimore when right-hander Ross Wolf faces Orioles right-hander Miguel Gonzalez at 7:15 p.m. on Fox Sports Southwest and ESPN Dallas FM 103.3 and 1540-AM.

Wolf (1-2, 2.14 ERA): Wolf has been the Rangers' do-it-all man on the pitching staff, from starting two games to pitching in both short and long relief … He will start for the second time against the Orioles in nine days … Wolf pitched well against the Birds in Baltimore, allowing two runs in six innings in his first quality start … Both runs came on home runs to major league leader Chris Davis and Brian Roberts … Wolf retired 10 of the last 12 batters with both runners who reached erased on double plays … He is 0-1 with a 2.85 ERA in two career games against the Orioles … Wolf spent two minor league stints with the Birds.

Gonzalez (7-3, 3.48 ERA): Gonzalez has been on a good roll for the Orioles. He is 5-1 with a 2.49 ERA for his past seven starts … He's pitched at least six innings in all seven starts and has allowed one earned run in four of them … That included his start against the Rangers on July 11, when he allowed one earned run in 6⅔ innings in a 3-1 victory … Gonzalez has been prone to the home run ball, allowing 14 in 101 innings … The right-hander has been tougher on left-handed batters, limiting them to a .214 batting average and two home runs in 193 at-bats … He's allowed 12 homers to right-handed hitters in 178 at-bats … He is 1-1 with a 3.86 ERA in two starts against the Rangers.

Hitters: Ian Kinsler is 2-for-4 with a home run and two RBIs against Gonzalez. Davis is 2-for-4 with a home run and RBI against Wolf.

Notes: Baker, Gentry expected back Friday

July, 18, 2013
7/18/13
5:12
PM CT
ARLINGTON, Texas -- The Rangers expect to activate utility man Jeff Baker and outfielder Craig Gentry on Friday when the season resumes with a three-game series against the Baltimore Orioles.

Baker, who has crushed left-handed pitching this season, will be in the starting lineup with the Orioles starting southpaw Wei-Yin Chen, manager Ron Washington said before a team workout Thursday afternoon at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington.

"We'll put him back in there against them," Washington said of using Baker against left-handed starters.

Gentry also is an option to start Friday's game, though Leonys Martin had become the Rangers' everyday center fielder before Gentry went on the 15-day disabled list with a non-displaced fracture in his right hand.

Baker was 2-for-11 in three games with Frisco and said Friday he has no issues with his right thumb, which he sprained in a high-five that went wrong back in June.

Gentry was 3-for-13 with all of his hits coming in Frisco's doubleheader Thursday. He had two hits in the second game.

To make room for Baker and Gentry, right-handed pitcher Wilmer Font and catcher-infielder Robinson Chirinos have been optioned to Triple-A Round Rock.

Rotation switch: The Rangers shuffled the rotation for their first series against Baltimore, with right-hander Ross Wolf now slated to start Saturday's game and left-hander Martin Perez going on Sunday. Derek Holland will start Friday's series opener.

The Rangers made the switch to break up their two left-handed starters, Washington said.

Yu Darvish (strained back muscle) will come off the disabled list Monday and start the opener of a four-game series against the New York Yankees. Darvish threw a bullpen Thursday and the Rangers said that it went well. Right-hander Alexi Ogando (shoulder inflammation) will start Tuesday's game provided his rehab start goes well Thursday night for Triple-A Round Rock.

Berkman update: Designated hitter Lance Berkman (left hip inflammation) returned with his teammates Thursday but was not on the field for the team workout, spending his time in the training room receiving treatment.

Berkman has been on the disabled list since July 7. The Rangers are still hopeful he can come back and help in the final 67 games. Berkman hasn't hit a home run left-handed since May 11, a stretch of 38 games before he landed on the DL.

"We could use another bat in the lineup," Rangers general manager Jon Daniels said. "Lance is one of them. In Lance's case, it's been physical. We feel like we could use more offense. We'd like Lance to be a part of that equation. I still think that's a possibility."

Busby, Nadel off for a few days: Steve Busby will miss Friday and Saturday for personal reasons, so Tom Grieve and Mark McLemore will do the TV broadcasts. Grieve will handle the play-by-play after handling a few innings on the Rangers' final road trip to get prepared for Busby's absence.

Rangers radio play-by-play man Eric Nadel will miss the opening home series against the Orioles because of vacation time that is in his contract with the club. Matt Hicks and Mike Peasley will handle the radio broadcasts.

Harrison ahead of schedule: Left-hander Matt Harrison, who had two back surgeries early in the season, threw his first bullpen session (25 pitches) Thursday and said that it went well and that he is ahead of schedule by a week.

Harrison is targeting beginning a rehab assignment around the first of August, which could put him back in the big leagues by late in the month.

Transactions: The Rangers optioned RHP Wilmer Font and C Robinson Chirinos to Round Rock to make room for Baker and Gentry, who will be activated Friday. Also, left-handed pitcher Brad Mills has been granted his release from the organization in order to sign a contract with the Orix Buffaloes of Nippon Professional Baseball’s Pacific League.

Rookie pitchers throw: Nick Tepesch, on the disabled list with right elbow inflammation, and Justin Grimm, who left his last start with forearm stiffness, both threw 90 feet on Thursday.

Buzz: Holland to start first game after break

July, 14, 2013
7/14/13
12:19
PM CT
DETROIT -- Texas manager Ron Washington has his starting pitching rotation set for when the Rangers return to action Friday, but it’s tentative.

“I haven’t had a discussion with anyone about how we’re going to set it up,” Washington said prior to the Rangers wrapping up their three-game series at Comerica Park against the Detroit Tigers on Sunday. “I’ve just got the names on who we’re going to go with.”

The one lock according to Washington will be Derek Holland will start the opener next Friday when the Rangers host the Baltimore Orioles.

Then it’ll come down between Martin Perez and Ross Wolf in Games 2 and 3.

Yu Darvish is penciled in to start the opener against the New York Yankees a week from Monday and Alexi Ogando is on paper to go for Game 2 in that series.

Darvish and Ogando are both currently on the 15-day disabled list.

“We don’t know exactly if Ogando will be ready, maybe he will maybe he won’t,” Washington said. “We may think he needs more time, we’ll decide whether if [Justin] Grimm will go to the bullpen or maybe have to stay in the rotation if somebody’s not ready. We’ll decide what we’re going to do with that on Friday.”

The decision for Wolf to start in the Rangers’ tentative plans, over Grimm, instead of going to the bullpen was simple for Washington.

“I think he’s earned it,” Washington said. “That could be one start or that could be two starts. It could also come up again by the time we open up on Friday and he’s back in the damn bullpen. That’s why I tell you this is tentative.”

Wolf has made just two starts this season for the Rangers, compared to 17 for Grimm.

“He’s more valuable to us right now [as a starter] coming out of the break,” Washington said of Wolf. “And then we’ll find out how valuable he is moving forward.”

Washington said Grimm won’t have to go to the DL after leaving Friday’s game with forearm soreness.

“He could have finished pitching out there,” Washington said. “It wasn’t bothering him when he threw. It was bothering him when he was sitting down and afterwards. I don’t expect him to go on DL.”

The only way Holland possibly couldn’t go the first game back from the break is if he’s asked by Detroit Tigers manager Jim Leyland to participate in the All-Star Game.

“I think that’s Jim’s decision,” Washington said. “He’s got a lot of pitchers out there to choose from and like I’ve said, I would like my guys to take the time off, but I’m not going to stop them from being an All-Star if that’s what Jim decides to do. That’s his decision.”

Special to ESPN Dallas

Stock Report: Beltre up, Profar down

July, 12, 2013
7/12/13
12:30
PM CT
ARLINGTON, Texas -- It's Friday and that means our weekly stock report. Let's take a look at who's trending up and who's trending down in Texas:

Streaking
UP

Adrian Beltre: The reigning American League Player of the Week takes a 13-game hitting streak into Friday's game against Detroit. He is batting .451 with six home runs, three doubles, 12 RBIs and eight runs scored in that span.

Ross Wolf: Wolf got a crucial out on one pitch in Monday's win against Baltimore. He then made an emergency start Thursday against the Orioles, allowing two runs in six innings. Wolf has filled every role asked of him this season.

Joakim Soria: Soria has lifted the bullpen, retiring all six batters he's faced since being recalled Sunday. He had a scoreless inning against Houston on Sunday in his first major league outing since Sept. 2011 with Kansas City. Soria adds depth in the bullpen and will take pressure off setup man Tanner Scheppers.

Slumping
DOWN

Mitch Moreland: Moreland had four hits in 34 at-bats before his three-hit game Thursday against Baltimore. His strikeouts have mounted. But he was back to using the whole field in Thursday's game against the Orioles, so hopefully that will carry over.

Nick Tepesch: Tepesch landed on the 15-day disabled list with right elbow inflammation, giving him a chance to regroup after a rough last month and half. Tepesch had allowed four earned runs or more in five of his last six starts before the injury.

Jurickson Profar: Profar has played well defensively and he seems to have adjusted well to left field. But offensively he has struggled with eight hits in his last 53 at-bats. He has three hits in his last 17 at-bats with runners in scoring position.

Ross Wolf: 'Big for us, big for our bullpen'

July, 11, 2013
7/11/13
10:46
PM CT
BALTIMORE -- The injury-riddled Texas Rangers pitching staff desperately needed long man Ross Wolf to give them a big-time effort when he wound up starting Thursday night. Wolf did just what the Rangers wanted -- and a little more.

[+] EnlargeRoss Wolf
AP Photo/Patrick Semansky"He kept us in the ballgame," Rangers manager Ron Washington said of Ross Wolf's six-inning effort Thursday in Baltimore. "I'm very happy with him. He did what his job was today."
Wolf went six strong innings in the finale of this four-game series at Camden Yards filling in for Yu Darvish, now on the DL with strained back. The right-hander said Wednesday he could give Texas 75 to 80 pitches and he came close, but the two early solo homers Wolf allowed helped the Baltimore Orioles pull out a 3-1 victory over the Rangers for a split of this series.

Wolf allowed just two runs on three hits. He threw 72 pitches and kept the strong Baltimore lineup off balance from start to finish. Texas manager Ron Washington was able to give his tired bullpen a bit of a break, which could be important heading into this weekend’s series with the Detroit Tigers, the American League’s top hitting team.

“He kept us in the ballgame,” Washington said. “I’m very happy with him. He did what his job was today. We needed him today, and he gave us what we needed out of him. We just didn’t put enough runs on the board.”

Wolf (1-2) gave up solo shots to MLB home run leader Chris Davis in the second and Brian Roberts in the third. That gave Baltimore a 2-0 lead. The only offense Texas could muster came on Ian Kinsler’s solo shot off Miguel Gonzalez to start the sixth, as the Rangers missed a chance to tie the idle Oakland Athletics for the division lead.

“I made two mistakes, and those hitters are supposed to do what they do with mistakes,” Wolf said. “I felt fine. Unfortunately, we didn’t come out with the win. The two solo shots kind of beat us. But other than that, we kept them off balance.”

Wolf battled Gonzalez (7-3) in a true pitcher’s duel, but the Orioles right-hander edged him out. Gonzalez went 6⅔ innings, giving up just one run on four hits. He said Wolf’s effort made him keep battling.

“We played a great game overall, [but] Wolfie kept his team in the game all the time,” Gonzalez said. “That’s what it’s all about.”

PODCAST
Rangers GM Jon Daniels dishes on Yu Darvish's injury, whether he is concerned about a potential suspension of Nelson Cruz, his expectations for Manny Ramirez and more.

Listen Listen
The Rangers missed on a chance to tie in the eighth, as Leonys Martin singled to start the inning and moved to second when Davis couldn’t handle a Darren O’Day pick-off throw. O’Day then retired the next three batters, and Baltimore held its 2-1 lead. The Orioles added another run in that inning and closer Jim Johnson finished it in the ninth despite giving up two hits.

Even though the Rangers lost, Washington needed to use only two pitchers in the bullpen in a night when all bets were off coming in. Wolf is going to remain the long man. But when Texas needed him to step up in a starting role, he came through in a big way.

“He picked us up huge tonight,” Rangers designated hitter Ian Kinsler said. “I think they were only planning on going four. He made it through six and didn’t really even use a lot of pitches. That was big for us and big for our bullpen.”

Buzz: Rangers call up Ortiz, Font

July, 11, 2013
7/11/13
5:27
PM CT
BALTIMORE-- The Rangers made several moves Thursday, starting with Yu Darvish being placed on the 15-day disabled list for the first time in his career.

Darvish is on the DL due to a right trapezius strain. He was scheduled to start Thursday's game with the Orioles, but Ross Wolf gets the nod instead. Wolf said Wednesday that he thinks he can give the Rangers 75-80 pitches.

PODCAST
Jim Bowden joins Ian Fitzsimmons and Tim MacMahon for his weekly visit to discuss how the Rangers are handling Yu Darvish heading into the All-Star break, the holes on their roster and an intriguing trade proposal that would bring Giancarlo Stanton to Texas.

Listen Listen
The Rangers optioned right-hander Josh Lindblom, who started Wednesday’s 6-1 loss, to Triple-A Round Rock. They also recalled left-hander Joseph Ortiz and right-hander Wilmer Font from Round Rock.

Darvish can come off the DL on July 22, when the Rangers start a four-game series with the Yankees. He leads the majors with 157 strikeouts, and opponents are hitting just .194 versus him -- best in the American League.

Lindblom is 1-3 this year after last night’s loss. He gave up six runs in the first four innings but made it through 5 S innings and threw 119 pitches on a hot and humid night in Baltimore. He has made five starts and pitched in eight games over three tours of duty with the Rangers in 2013.

“It’s just kind of part of the game,” Lindblom said. “You go out and throw as much as I did yesterday, and we need arms, and that’s what important right now, that we get guys that are fresh and can throw and help teams win ballgames.”

Ortiz also is coming up to the Rangers for the third time in 2013. He’s 2-1 with a 5.08 ERA in 22 relief appearances. He last pitched for the Rangers on June 20 versus Oakland.

For Font, this will be his first time with the Rangers this season. He pitched in three games with Texas after being called up last September, his first major league action. Font was 1-0 with one save at Round Rock in four games after going 1-2 with 10 saves at Double-A Frisco before that.

Staying tough: Ron Washington spoke for several minutes before the game about how proud he’s been of the mental toughness the Rangers have shown as they’ve battled through numerous injuries.

The skipper said he’s glad that the Rangers have gotten good performances from younger players. They’ve stepped up and gained key experience that can help them and the team down the road.

Washington said he’s never dealt with a season littered with this many injuries.

“It happens, you know, and you’ve got to play,” he said. “You’ve got to send nine out there.”

Then he stopped and smiled.

“There were a couple times I tried to stop the season until we got healthy,” he said. “They wouldn’t let me do it.”

Looking forward to Detroit: Washington already had thoughts of the Detroit Tigers and their tough lineup creeping into his head before the series finale with Baltimore on Thursday.

The skipper knows his team is going to be battling Detroit’s brutal 1-2 combination of Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder, who’ve been crushing pitching all season. Cabrera hit his 30th homer Thursday and has 94 RBIs and a .366 batting average.

Fielder has a .267 average with 16 homers and 69 RBIs.

“If you execute pitches on Prince, you might get lucky,” Washington said. “You’re not getting lucky with Cabrera. It’s like picking poison.”

Matchup: Ross Wolf vs. Miguel Gonzalez

July, 11, 2013
7/11/13
1:00
PM CT
BALTIMORE -- Ross Wolf is a late fill-in for Yu Darvish as the starting pitcher and will go against Miguel Gonzalez in the finale of this four-game series with the Baltimore Orioles on Thursday night. The game begins at 6:05 p.m. on FSSW and ESPN Dallas 103.3

PODCAST
Rangers GM Jon Daniels dishes on Yu Darvish's injury, whether he is concerned about a potential suspension of Nelson Cruz, his expectations for Manny Ramirez and more.

Listen Listen
Wolf (1-1, 1.95): Darvish was supposed to start this game, but the Rangers put the All-Star on the 15-day disabled list, so Wolf gets the call. ... He has been working as the Texas long man recently, appearing in relief in 11 of his 12 appearances. ... Wolf took the loss in the 18-inning marathon against the Toronto Blue Jays last month despite giving up one run and seven hits in 6 2/3 innings of relief. ... The 30-year old right-hander said after Wednesday's loss that he could give the Rangers 75-80 pitches Thursday.

Gonzalez (6-3, 3.63): He has been a solid starter for the Orioles since they acquired him in 2012. ... Gonzalez has won four of his past five decisions this season and been one of Baltimore's most consistent starters. ... Manager Buck Showalter and the Orioles feel that Gonzalez seems to do better when getting an extra day of rest, and they try to give him that when possible, which is what happened in this case. He last pitched on July 5 and gets five days off instead of four. ... The right-hander has good control and command. He has struck out 72 and walked only 32 this season.

Hitters: Only a few Texas batters have ever gone against Gonzalez. Nelson Cruz and Ian Kinsler each have one hit against him. Wolf has faced only three Orioles, and none has a hit against him.

Darvish: Cautious approach makes sense

July, 10, 2013
7/10/13
7:24
PM CT
The Texas Rangers played it safe with ace Yu Darvish on Wednesday, placing him on the 15-day disabled list with a strained muscle in his right shoulder.

PODCAST
Rangers GM Jon Daniels dishes on Yu Darvish's injury, whether he is concerned about a potential suspension of Nelson Cruz, his expectations for Manny Ramirez and more.

Listen Listen
Considering the timing, it was absolutely the right choice.

Darvish will miss only one start -- Thursday night in Baltimore. He gets the mandatory time off for the All-Star break and would be eligible to come off the DL on July 22 to face the New York Yankees.

If this is just a case of fatigue -- which is the way the Rangers are describing the injury -- they get to rest Darvish and get him ready for the second half of the season.

Alexi Ogando should be back to start one of the Rangers' three games against Baltimore next weekend once the break is over. Derek Holland and Martin Perez also could pitch in that series.

Darvish's missed start Thursday against the Orioles likely will go to either long man Ross Wolf -- who threw one pitch in Monday's win -- or Double-A starter Neil Ramirez.

That will depend on whether Wolf is needed for Wednesday's game against the Orioles should emergency starter Josh Lindblom not pitch deep into the game.

SPONSORED HEADLINES

TEAM LEADERS

BA LEADER
Adrian Beltre
BA HR RBI R
.324 19 77 79
OTHER LEADERS
HRA. Beltre 19
RBIA. Beltre 77
RA. Beltre 79
OPSA. Beltre .879
WC. Lewis 10
ERAC. Lewis 5.18
SOY. Darvish 182