Texas Rangers: Yu Darvish

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ARLINGTON, Texas -- This isn’t about a young pitcher trying to finish an inning, because while Texas Rangers manager Ron Washington wants to see that, the reality of this portion of the Rangers' season is hinging more and more on the hitters' lack of production.

On the hottest day of the season -- it was 100 degrees at first pitch -- the Oakland Athletics, the best team in baseball it would seem, took two of three games here by winning the rubber game 9-3 on Sunday evening.

The Rangers have now lost two in row and seven of 10 to start the second half of the year. It has gotten so bad around here, the Astros (42-63), in the midst of a five-game losing streak, could have fallen into a tie with the Rangers for the worst record in baseball on Sunday.

The Rangers (41-64) maintain that, still.

The 25-year-old Miles Mikolas struggled, allowing five runs in the second inning when the A’s took control and he couldn’t get out of the fifth, but you can’t blame everything on him.

So where are the Rangers' hitters in key situations?

Nowhere apparently.

There was Adam Rosales’ first homer of the year, a two-run shot to left, cutting a 5-0 deficit to three. After that, not much else and that’s one of the problems.

The hitters' failures: Busting out of slumps is one thing and getting timely hitting is another. The Rangers had runners reach base in six innings and delivered a run twice: Rosales’ two-run homer and Adrian Beltre's solo shot in the eighth. Two of the biggest opportunities came in the third and fifth innings.

With two on and two outs, J.P. Arencibia had a chance to come through, but instead struck out. In the fifth, with the bases loaded, he was up again, but A’s starter Scott Kazmir (12-3) struck him out swinging on a belt-high, 93-mph fastball.

One note about this inning was a lack of patience by Shin-Soo Choo. After Daniel Robertson started the inning with a single, Choo attacked the first pitch and hit into a 4-6-3 double play. Why not work the count a little? At that point, Kazmir had thrown 75 pitches. With two outs, Andrus worked the count to 1-2 and singled to left. Alex Rios then singled to center and Beltre walked.

Arencibia of course ended the threat with a strikeout. Given the injuries to the Rangers this season, Mitch Moreland and Prince Fielder would be in this lineup and are better options than Arencibia. But this is what Washington has to deal with.

Mikolas’ night turns in the fifth: The right-hander pitched wonderfully in his most recent start in New York, where he beat the Yankees on a Monday night in the Bronx. He gave up five runs, four earned, while throwing 34 pitches in the second inning. The biggest mistake he made wasn’t throwing to a hitter, but to shortstop Elvis Andrus. Mikolas fielded a comebacker and while throwing to second in an attempt to get the second out, he threw wide of the bag, allowing all the runners to be safe. When the inning ended, he had walked two, allowed two doubles and was down 5-0.

In the fifth, he didn’t finish the inning after getting two outs. Eric Sogard kept the inning alive with a two-out RBI double to right. Former Ranger Craig Gentry walked, and Washington decided to make a pitching change. Mikolas allowed eight runs, seven earned, on seven hits in 4⅔ innings. It was the second-shortest outing this season.

Beltre did have a nice night, getting on base three times, and he smashed his 15th homer of the year in the eighth.

What’s next? Yu Darvish looks to end this two-game losing streak by facing the Yankees for the second time in less than a week. Darvish (9-6, 2.92) takes on David Phelps (5-4, 3.77). It’s a rematch of Wednesday’s rain/grounds crew fiasco, which the Yankees won 2-1 when the game was called in the bottom of the fifth due to rain/grounds.
ARLINGTON, Texas -- Texas Rangers pitching coach Mike Maddux is proud of his little brother.

He's got good reason to be.

Maddux's younger brother, Greg Maddux, will be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame on Sunday in Cooperstown, New York. Mike Maddux missed the three-game series against the Oakland Athletics so he could support a man with 355 career victories, four Cy Young Awards and 18 Gold Gloves.

"One man's career comes to a crescendo," Mike Maddux said before heading East. "It is the ultimate pat on the back for a job well done. You make a minor league team, go to the big leagues and make that team. This is the ultimate team to make. He is on a new team, the highest honor you can get."

Greg Maddux is a special assistant to the Rangers, and he makes appearances numerous times during the year to help young pitchers, including Yu Darvish.

"A great guy -- very kind and great at golf," Darvish said with a smile.

Mikolas looks to build: Right-hander Miles Mikolas is scheduled to start Sunday night against the Athletics and lefty Scott Kazmir. In Mikolas' previous start, Monday at New York, he was fantastic and allowed just two runs on four hits in 7⅓ innings in the 4-2 victory over the Yankees. Mikolas, who will make his first career start against the A's, made just 17 starts at the minor league level; Sunday's would be his fifth in the big leagues. One of the things Mikolas is attempting to do is build on what happened in Yankee Stadium.

"Just try to repeat the things that I did in that game to be successful," Mikolas said. "Locate fastball down and away when they need to be there, and execute pitches and stick with the game plan."

Lack of home-run power at The Globe: The Rangers have hit 72 home runs this season, second-fewest in the American League and 27th in baseball. The AL average is 94. Texas lost Prince Fielder and Mitch Moreland to injuries and has not replaced that power in the lineup. One would believe the Rangers would at least hit plenty of homers in their own ballpark, it just hasn't been the case. The Rangers have hit 32 at Globe Life Park, while their pitchers have given up 104 total and 51 at home.

"You like to see balls hit out the ballpark on your side," manager Ron Washington said. "It's not necessary -- we just got to string stuff together. [The Athletics] definitely have guys that have the potential to swing the bat and hit it out the ballpark. They’ve shown that all year."

Oakland hit four home runs Saturday night. The Rangers have hit two home runs in the past eight games.

W2W4: Rangers vs. Athletics

July, 25, 2014
Jul 25
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The slumping Texas Rangers (40-62) on Friday host the Oakland A’s (63-38), who boast the best record in baseball and have scored a league-high 509 runs.

Here’s a preview:

What’s up with the Rangers?: Well, the same old business lately: Losing. The Rangers lost three of four games to the Yankees in the Bronx to finish 2-5 in their seven-game road trip to start the second half. There is some good news, however. The starting pitching has gotten better, and outside of Yu Darvish's rain-shortened complete-game loss where he went 4 1/3 innings, Colby Lewis (6 1/3), Nick Martinez (5 1/3) and Miles Mikolas (7 1/3) have made it into the sixth inning. That's a trend manager Ron Washington would like to see continue so that the bullpen doesn't wear down.

Oakland is rolling: The A’s are 4-2 since the All-Star break and 23-11 in their last 34 games overall. Starting pitching has been off the charts, and the Rangers will face two of the Athletics' best in RHP Sonny Gray (11-3) on Saturday and LHP Scott Kazmir (11-3) on Sunday. The A’s have scored 87 runs in July, led by Yoenis Cespedes, Coco Crisp, Josh Donaldson, Jed Lowrie and Brandon Moss.

Head-to-head: The A’s lead the season-series 5-4 and are 3-0 at Globe Life Park. Elvis Andrus is hitting .348 and Shin-Soo Choo is at a .357 against Kazmir. Andrus has just one hit in 11 career at-bats against Gray. Adrian Beltre has two hits in seven at-bats against Friday starter Jason Hammel.

Williams gets call: Jerome Williams is scheduled to start Friday for the Rangers. Williams, who was called up from Triple-A Round Rock, hasn’t started a big league game since 2012. He will become the 52nd player and 31st pitcher used by the Rangers this season, both marks being major league highs. Williams has never started against the A's but has posted a 1-0 record with a 5.14 ERA over seven innings in three career relief appearances against them.

Pitching matchups: RHP Williams (1-4, 6.04 with Houston) vs. Jason Hammel (0-2, 9.00 with Oakland and 8-5, 2.95 with Cubs) on Friday; RHP Nick Tepesch (0-1, 4.87) vs. RHP Sonny Gray (11-3, 2.73) on Saturday; Miles Mikolas (1-2, 7.48) vs. Scott Kazmir (11-3, 2.32) on Sunday.

Jerome Williams to start Friday

July, 24, 2014
Jul 24
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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.

Rapid Reaction: Yankees 4, Rangers 2

July, 24, 2014
Jul 24
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NEW YORK – The middle innings did Colby Lewis in Thursday afternoon from Yankee Stadium. And the Rangers right-hander didn’t get enough support in the late innings from his teammates to overcome his issues in a 4-2 loss to the Yankees.

The loss dropped the Rangers to a 40-62 on the season, marking the first time since 1988 that the franchise has dipped 22 games under .500.

What happened?: With the score tied in the fifth, Lewis committed the unallowable, walking Ichiro Suzuki to start the inning. Francisco Cervelli shot a double down the left-field line, and Ichiro used his speed to score all the way from first. Brendan Ryan then bunted Cervelli over to third and, after a walk to Jacoby Ellsbury, Brett Gardner got Cervelli home with a sacrifice fly to left.

The Rangers cut the deficit to 3-2 on a solo shot from J.P. Arencibia in the seventh, but that’s about as close as the visitors would get.

The road trip: The Rangers finished 2-5 on the road trip, lost their closer (Joakim Soria) to a trade, missed their starting right fielder Alex Rios for three games with a sprained ankle, lost a four hour and 51 minute 14-inning game and another game that was cut short after the grounds crew failed to get the tarp on the field. The Rangers lost three out of four games to the Yankees to conclude the trip. Elvis Andrus (6-for-30), Adrian Beltre (5-for-29) and Shin-Soo Choo (5-for-24) didn't get much going with the bats.

RISP slide: The Rangers were 1-for-12 the last two games with runners in scoring position. Robinson Chirinos hit into a 6-4-3 double play in the third. After Rougned Odor singled, Choo reached on a hit to right-center. Andrus ended an 0-for-12 slide with a bloop single in shallow center to give the Rangers a 1-0 lead and give the Rangers their first hit with runners in scoring postition. Alex Rios ended the inning on a fly ball to right. For the game, the Rangers were 1-for-4 with runners in scoring position and 6-for-26 in the four-game series.

What’s next?: The Rangers start a six-game homestand Friday night against AL West rival Oakland. The starter for Friday’s game is undetermined. It was supposed to be Nick Tepesch, but he was scratched Thursday morning when the club decided it was best to protect him after his emergency relief appearance Tuesday night. Expect Scott Baker or a minor league call-up to get the start.

Pregame Notes: Feliz will close today

July, 24, 2014
Jul 24
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NEW YORK -- It's official, at least for one day, but the Rangers will make Neftali Feliz the closer for Thursday afternoon's game against the New York Yankees.

The Rangers traded closer Joakim Soria on Wednesday night to the Detroit Tigers for two pitching prospects. The move has pushed Feliz, who was a dominant force in the role in 2010 and 2011 before being moved to starter and Tommy John injuries halted his career, back to the late-inning stopper.

"If there's an opportunity I would like to become the closer again," Feliz said. "I did it for a couple of years and I will take advantage of the opportunity and do the best that I can."

Manager Ron Washington said whether or not Feliz can go back-to-back days as the closer is uncertain. It just depends on the amount of pitches he throws at a given appearance, but Washington believes he's ready to do it.

"I'm going to give him the ball and tell him to do what he feels he needs to do with it," Washington said. "This is what, Neftali's fifth year? I can't motivate Neftali. That (being the closer again) should motivate him enough. You got a chance to close and that's what it is, a chance."

Starter is needed for Friday: The Rangers announced Nick Tepesch will not start on Friday. Washington said a decision will be made after Thursday's game on who the new starter will be. Tepesch threw 12 pitches in 1/3 inning emergency relief appearance in the 14-inning loss to the Yankees on Tuesday night as the main reason.

"I guess err on the side of caution would be the way to go," pitching coach Mike Maddox said. "We feel Nick would be available to pitch and he would be the first to tell you he could, yeah. But take a young kid and we asked him to do something outside of his box the other night, a team need. To his credit, we really appreciate him taking the ball. I know it was brief and not what he wanted or what anybody wanted. It's a testament to his character and his team-first attitude."

Scott Baker might start in place of Tepesch and Washington noted someone from the outside could step in, meaning a callup.

Tepesch, 25, could get pushed back an extra day and will start instead on Saturday against Oakland. Miles Mikolas will get pushed a day and go on Sunday. Staff ace Yu Darvish will remain on his normal four-days of rest schedule and pitch Monday against the Yankees in Arlington. Nick Martinez could go on six days rest and face the Yankees on Tuesday.

Extra Bases: Colby makes his debut

July, 24, 2014
Jul 24
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NEW YORK -- Rangers right-hander Colby Lewis gets the call in the finale of this four-game series against the Yankees on Thursday afternoon.

Lewis will make his first appearance at the new Yankee Stadium.

"I faced them a couple of times in the postseason," Lewis said. "I'm looking forward to it and being able to say I pitched in both old Yankee Stadium and new Yankee Stadium, I think that’s pretty good."

The last time Lewis pitched at the Yankees was 2003 when he lost a 6-2 game to Roger Clemens. He did go against the Yankees twice in the 2010 ALCS, winning the series clincher in Game 6, but those games were in Arlington.

Most recently, Lewis has allowed just two earned runs in three of his last four starts, but that's a little misleading.

On July 10, Lewis allowed 11 earned runs and a franchise-record 13 runs on 13 hits in a 15-6 loss to the Los Angeles Angels. Lewis dismissed that start saying he threw plenty of first-pitch strikes that were just hit for base hits.

He does point out he pitched well last Saturday in Toronto. Lewis allowed just two runs on eight hits in five innings of work but threw 106 pitches and was taken out.

"It felt great," Lewis said. "I just threw a lot of pitches early and walked (three) a couple of guys. I lost my control a little bit."

Darvish deals with rain: Starter Yu Darvish gets credited with a complete game thanks to the rain-shortened, 2-1, five-inning loss to the Yankees on Wednesday night. Darvish warmed up after the 1:49 rain delay but then was told the game was over.

"I was looking forward to getting back on the mound," Darvish said through an interpreter. "It is what it is. I am kind of disappointed."

Darvish went just 4 1/3 innings and struck out five while giving up two runs on four hits as he threw 67 pitches. Darvish committed a balk, he said, because of a mixup in the signs from catcher Chris Gimenez and a wild pitch.

Francisco Cervelli hit a leadoff double to start the second and he was balked over to third. He scored on Brendan Ryan's ground out to second. But Darvish allowed a home run to leadoff hitter Brett Gardner that gave the Yankees a 2-0 lead.

"In the meeting it was a zone I thought I was able to pitch in," Darvish said of the belt-high, four-seam fastball he threw. "I thought it was a good pitch but you got to give credit to the hitter. I got to practice more and I got to throw it harder and next time it will be a flyball."

Tepesch is out: Nick Tepesch, the scheduled starter for Friday, was scratched. Tepesh came in relief on Tuesday and threw 12 pitches in 1/3 of an inning. The Rangers haven't announced who will take over.

Roster move: The Rangers called up RHP Nate Adcock from Triple-A Round Rock. Adcock will be available for Thursday's game. In 13 appearances he compiled a 2.76 ERA. 1B Mitch Moreland (left ankle surgery) was moved to the 60-day disabled list.


Rain-delay issues upset Rangers

July, 23, 2014
Jul 23
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NEW YORK -- The Texas Rangers were irritated with Yankee Stadium on Wednesday night.

A tremendous downpour forced the Rangers-Yankees game to be called after a 1-hour, 49-minute rain delay that had all sorts of problems.

"It doesn't seem right," Rangers GM Jon Daniels said when it was over.

The Yankees were rewarded a 2-1 victory that lasted just 5 1/3 innings.

When the rains came down, the Yankee Stadium grounds crew took 13 minutes to get the tarp on the field. The crew had pulled the tarp halfway across the infield, but it wouldn't go any farther, so it was drawn back into the outfield. During the process to get the tarp ready to go across a second time, the heavy rains drenched the field to the point where the dirt turned to mud.

Once the tarp was put back on the field, the heavy rain turned into a steady stream as the fans, at least most of the 37,585, gave out a mock cheer.

The Rangers weren't laughing because once it stopped raining and the tarp was taken off, the grounds crew needed to turn mud into something playable, and while things looked good on the surface, manager Ron Washington said the field felt like rubber.

The umpires told both teams to warm up their pitchers and Rangers starter Yu Darvish did that. After he completed the task, the umpires met and a decision was made to call the game.

"There were some tarp issues," crew chief Dale Scott said. "That combined with the massive amounts of rain in a very short amount of time, that field was inundated with water. We were hoping after we took the tarp off and looked it over, that we, working with the grounds crew, that we could get it playable."

That wasn't happening and Washington, worried about two players dealing with ankle issues, Alex Rios and Shin-Soo Choo, wasn't taking any chances. Washington wanted to protest and called Daniels, who was back in Dallas watching the game.

League officials said a protest wasn't allowed.

"Just walk the field, it was sinking, it was very soft especially around the base paths and base lines," Washington said. "Around each bag you couldn't get a lead at first base."

In terms of Thursday's 1 p.m. EST game, there is some concern about starting that game on time as well. Weather reports indicate it may rain overnight, which will keep the tarp on the field. The grounds crew would then have to move pretty quickly to resurface the field again to make sure the mud is nearly gone.

It was a frustrating night for the Rangers, who had their ace, Darvish, pitching and were involved in a one-run game.

"We certainly didn't feel like one run was going to hold us," Washington said. "We felt like we were going to be able to get something going. To lose Yu Darvish is particularly tough."
NEW YORK -- The Yankee Stadium grounds crew struggled to get the tarp on the field in a hard rain storm in the bottom of the fifth inning of the Yankees-Rangers game Wednesday night.

After loud thunder was heard over the stadium several times, it started raining quickly and hard. The grounds crew struggled to pull the tarp over the infield and it took 13 minutes for it to cover the infield.

[+] EnlargeRangers Yankees
Calvin Watkins/ESPNThe Yankee Stadium infield was a mess Wednesday night after the grounds crew had trouble putting the tarp on during a downpour.
The infield was a mess, and it resembled a look for a football game than a baseball contest.

Fans gave a mock cheer as the tarp was finally placed over the field but at that point the rain was not coming down in buckets, but just steady.

Once the tarp was down, it stopped raining five minutes later and the grounds crew took the tarp off with the objective of fixing a muddy infield.

The Rangers trail the Yankees, 2-1.

Brett Gardner's solo shot on Yu Darvish is the difference in the game.

Yu Darvish looking to build momentum

July, 23, 2014
Jul 23
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NEW YORK -- Quality starts have been difficult for the Rangers in what is looking like a lost season. In the first two games of this series with the Yankees, Miles Mikolas and Nick Martinez have performed well.

Before the Yankees series, Rangers starters had an 8.54 ERA in the last 17 games to push the team ERA to 5.18. A starter had gone more than six innings just once in the last 17 games.

Monday night, Mikolas went 7 1/3 innings and allowed just two runs on four hits for his first victory as a starter.

Martinez didn't factor into the decision Tuesday and fell 2/3 of an inning short of a true "quality start," but he shut out the Yankees out for 5 1/3 innings.

On Wednesday, Yu Darvish will look to deliver another solid effort for the Rangers.

Darvish, who made a subtle change in his delivery while warming up in the bullpen before his last start, was fantastic in his last outing Friday. He helped the Rangers snap an eight-game losing streak with a 5-1 win over the Toronto Blue Jays.

"I just have to make some adjustments in movement, in my delivery that’s all I can really say," said Darvish without getting into details about what he actually did.

The Rangers have followed Darvish's lead for most of the season. Now he will try to follow solid efforts from the last two starters as he tries to reach double-digit wins for the third straight season.

“It’s really hard to be consistent,” Darvish said. “You have to bring your body and prepare yourself. I think I was able to do that. I studied myself and studied the other guys, and it’s very important to be consistent.”

Yu Darvish's thoughts on pitching

July, 22, 2014
Jul 22
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NEW YORK -- The ace of the Texas Rangers' staff is normally guarded with his comments with reporters.

During the All-Star break, Yu Darvish revealed his thoughts about the game, raising questions about how pitchers are trained in the big leagues, the type of baseballs used and why several Japanese pitchers arrive in America healthy but end up hurt.

“I think everybody has a hard time maintaining their health, and everyone has a risk of getting injured,” Darvish said to Japanese reporters during the All-Star break in Minneapolis last week. “It depends on how you lower the risk of getting injured. I think it is [coming] to the age where the individual has to take care of their own body. I think that is the difference-maker.”

Darvish is scheduled to pitch in the third game of the Rangers-Yankees series on Wednesday and didn’t expound on his comments from the All-Star Game when asked in an interview on Monday.

Darvish, who is 9-5 with a 2.88 ERA, wasn’t finished. He was asked why is there an increase in Tommy John surgeries this season and how several pitchers are winding up injured, including the Yankee's Masahiro Tanaka, who is on the disabled list with a slight ligament tear in his elbow.

“I think there are a lot reasons that are being said, and I don't know the exact reason either, but I think it could be the way that we train,” Darvish said. “The way that we train nowadays is so that we can increase the velocity of our pitches. This is how I tell my training coach: lower body, back, lower back. If we concentrate on that area we are able to throw the ball faster, but we are not able to protect the arm and elbow. Since we are throwing the ball faster, there is more tension on the ligament; we need to protect that. So [the training], it's not good. So I think that is the main reason.”

Darvish said throwing the splitter isn’t a good idea because it “puts stress on the elbow. I think the changeup has more to do with it as it catches the ring finger. The forkball is different, and I think that definitely puts strain on the elbow. The grip of a split-finger is shallow and doesn't differ much than the two-seamer.”

Darvish noted several pitchers who performed in Japanese leagues, where starters normally go on six days' rest, ended up hurt in the big leagues due to pitching on four days' rest, which is the norm in America.

“It's way too short,” he said, regarding the time between starts. “That's why they have pitch-count limitations, but pitch count doesn't have much to do with it. You could throw 120 pitches, 140 pitches and have six days' rest, and the inflammation on the ligament will all be healed. So I think that's it.”

Darvish said going with six-man rotations is the best way to preserve pitching staffs and arms, but doubts it will happen because of the finances of the game.

Major league teams most likely will have to increase roster size, something the players union would like, but the owners might have problems with.

Darvish also believes banned substances might have affected the game in some ways.

Several pitchers over the years have been banned by major league baseball for using banned substances.

“There are a lot more banned substances compared to 10, 20 years ago,” Darvish said through an interpreter. “I'm not saying they were using substances, but nowadays you can't even take cold medicine. I think that may be a reason, too. I don't think that Matsuzaka, Tanaka, Wada, Fujikawa had damage to their ligaments in Japan. When they came over here they had medical checks, so I don't think they had any issues. So, it developed after they came here. So why? I think it's the time between starts and heavier ball, those kinds of things.”

The type of baseball is also a factor regarding arm injuries. In Japanese leagues, the type of baseball is smaller and according to Darvish a uniform size.

Darvish said the Rawlings baseballs used in the states are bigger -- which they are -- but the balls come in different sizes.

“The bottom line is not to have slippery balls,” Darvish said. “If the ball is slippery, you have to hold onto it real good. To do so puts stress here [on the arm]. But Rawlings is a big company, and there is a lot of red tape. But I think the material used for Japanese balls are really good, all the balls are the same. Over here they are all different.

Asked to explain further, Darvish said, “They are all different, the size, there are deformed ones. Japanese balls are all the same. It's great.”

Pregame Notes: Choo plays in RF

July, 21, 2014
Jul 21
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NEW YORK -- Shin-Soo Choo will make his first start in right field for the Texas Rangers this season in Monday’s game against the New York Yankees.

It’s Choo’s first appearance in right since 2012 when he played for Cleveland.

The Rangers are forced to make this move with regular right fielder Alex Rios out with a sprained right ankle.

Choo, hitting .236 with nine homers and 33 RBIs, has played with a sore left ankle since April that’s attributed to his poor season.

“I’m not thinking about it that it’s been bothering me,” said Choo, who noted he’s not comfortable playing right field. “I made a bad decision (by not going on the DL) and that’s what happened I tried to come back as soon as possible and that’s what happened.”

Choo has either played left field or DH for the Rangers this season and was signed to boost the power of this lineup.

Yet, Choo has struggled and is currently on a 21 at-bat hitless slide and hitting just .116 with 16 strikeouts the last 11 games. His average has dropped
from .254 to .236.

In the last 40 games, Choo is hitting just .173.

“The ankle is not going to get well until he gets off it,” Ron Washington said. “It can get better, but it’s not going to get well until he gets off it. We are fortunate in a sense that he’s fighting through it and he’s not using it as an excuse, but at certain times it's affected him. When you decide to play the excuse for your ankle is gone.”

Rios does some running: Rios, who sprained his ankle swinging the bat in Toronto on Saturday, ran on the treadmill at a 10-minute pace on Monday. Rios said he expects to swing the bat in the cage on Monday and will make himself available to pinch hit.

Washington normally gives injured players an extra day of rest before re-inserting them into the lineup. So, Rios, if cleared, most likely will return on Wednesday.

“It hurt a little bit,” Rios said.

Rios’ name has surfaced in trade talks with several teams and general manager Jon Daniels has said he’s willing to speak with teams regarding players who entering their free agency year. The Rangers have a $13.5 million club option with a $1 million buyout on Rios.

Rios said he won’t talk about trade talks.

Adduci gets another chance: The Rangers activated 1B/OF Jim Adduci and optioned right-hander Matt West to Triple-A Round Rock Monday afternoon. Adduci had two hits and a RBI Sunday at Triple-A Round Rock. In four games, during his rehab assignments, Adduci went 5-for-15 with three RBIs. Adduci hasn’t’ played in the big leagues since he fractured his left pinkie finger April 17.

Base Hits: Rangers ace Yu Darvish said he met Yankees ace Masahiro Tanaka on Monday. ... RHP Nick Martinez is scheduled to start on Tuesday. The Rangers have to make a roster move to clear room for Martinez, who spent time on the disabled list since July 2. ... The Rangers will honor retiring Yankee shortstop Derek Jeter on July 30th -- the finale of a three-game set between the clubs.

Yu Darvish makes most of All-Star action

July, 15, 2014
Jul 15
10:18
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MINNEAPOLIS – Yu Darvish trots out an eephus pitch a few times a year, but to do so to the major league batting leader in front of millions of people watching the All-Star Game on TV took a bit of gall.

[+] EnlargeYu Darvish
Jesse Johnson/USA TODAY SportsYu Darvish saw his first All-Star Game action in his third appearance, throwing a 1-2-3 third inning.
“It’s my strength,” Darvish joked through an interpreter.

Of course, Darvish has a few more “strengths” besides a 57-mph lob to take a batter by surprise, but he’s certainly willing to do whatever it takes to get somebody out.

He told reporters Monday he would throw one if he got in the game. He threw a slider for a ball, then pumped in a couple of 92-mph fastballs before breaking out the eephus to Troy Tulowitzki in the third inning. Tulowitzki took it for a ball and, two pitches later, lined to left for an out.

Darvish pitched a 1-2-3 inning, handing Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig one of his three strikeouts and inducing Paul Goldschmidt to line out as well. It was Darvish’s third All-Star bid, but his first time pitching in one. He was injured last season and available only to pitch in extra innings in 2012.

“I felt very honored,” Darvish said. “It ranks right up there. There are many great pitchers and I was able to pitch in the third spot.”

The Rangers' second representative, Adrian Beltre, entered as a defensive replacement in the top of the sixth and walked in his only at-bat in the bottom of the inning.
MINNEAPOLIS -- Yu Darvish is on his third All-Star team, with a realistic chance of appearing in the All-Star Game for the first time on Tuesday night at Target Field. Is that enough to make the right-hander change his indifference about pitching in the game?

“Not really,” Darvish said through an interpreter on Monday.

[+] EnlargeYu Darvish
Brad Mills/USA TODAY SportsYu Darvish is an All-Star for the third time, but did not make an appearance in his first two games.
The Japanese right-hander, who missed last year’s game because of injury and was only available to pitch in extra innings in the 2012 game, made his final first-half start last Wednesday, putting him in line to appear in the All-Star Game. Rangers manager Ron Washington said last week he planned to tell Red Sox manager John Farrell -- who is managing the American League team -– that Darvish would be available for an inning or 20 pitches, adding he hoped Darvish would want to play in the game.

But even for a contest that will be broadcast to over 200 countries, Darvish doesn’t feel any special urgency to appear.

“Of course, I feel very honored (to be selected),” Darvish said. “I could pitch, but I haven’t been told (whether I will).”

The 2013 Cy Young Award runner-up is fourth in the American League with 142 strikeouts, but a Rangers team beset by injuries has baseball’s worst record, a year after losing a one-game playoff for the second AL wild-card spot. Darvish said it can be hard to persevere in a season like this one, adding “people lack focus sometimes” when losses mount.

“I don’t tell my teammates anything (to get them focused),” he said. “They’re professional baseball players. They have to figure it out. In the midst of that, I just have to focus on what I’m doing.”

He said he wants to pitch deeper into games in the second half of the season, repeating a goal he stated in spring training. He threw eight shutout innings against Minnesota on June 28, but hasn’t reached the seventh inning in any of his other four starts in the last month. Still, he’s been better about relying on his fastball this season, like the Rangers wanted. He’s throwing it 55 percent of the time -- up from 38 percent last year -- and if he’s able to use the pitch to get quick contact, it should help keep his pitch counts down and enable him to work further into games.

But if he considers the All-Star Game any kind of special reward in a frustrating season, Darvish wasn’t admitting it on Monday.

“If I go to two more All-Star Games and not pitch at all, it’ll be a record,” he joked.

Lack of execution hurts Darvish, Rangers

July, 10, 2014
Jul 10
12:09
AM CT
ARLINGTON, Texas -- No walks and eight strikeouts usually means a good night for Yu Darvish.

So does seeing his team put up four runs for him in the first two innings.

[+] EnlargeYu Darvish
Cooper Neill/Getty ImagesIt was a rare instance for Yu Darvish, who did not walk a batter, struck out eight and was handed an early lead -- but still lost.
But the Texas Rangers' ace could not keep the Houston Astros -- a team that has seen two of his most dominating outings -- in check.

The Astros handed Darvish his fifth loss of the season with an 8-4 victory Wednesday night at Globe Life Park.

"All my pitches were there," Darvish said through an interpreter. "I just didn't execute. My command wasn't bad. In key situations, Houston was hitting the ball."

Said Rangers manager Ron Washington: "He left some pitches in the wrong places. Usually when we put four runs on the board for him, it's a win."

Washington noted that the tying home run Darvish gave up to Robbie Grossman in the fifth inning was very uncharacteristic of his ace.

"He usually doesn't do that," the manager said.

Shin-Soo Choo lost one ball in the sun and came up empty with a dive on a go-ahead double by Houston's Carlos Corporan in the sixth.

"He's having some problems getting jumps," Washington said of his left fielder. "Some days are better than others."

Darvish was struck by a ball on the top of his head Tuesday in batting practice. When asked if it was a factor, Darvish showed a sense of humor about an incident he evidently felt was overblown and said in jest that he made a will Tuesday before going to bed.

"Fortunately, I was able to wake up this morning, and I felt good," he said with a smile.

The start was the final one for Darvish before the All-Star break. Looking at the bigger picture, he rated it an OK first half -- 8-5 record, 2.97 ERA.

Despite the Rangers' struggles -- 18 losses in 21 games -- Darvish says he is proud of the team.

"I know what the fans are expecting," he said. "We're struggling right now, but we're trying."

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TEAM LEADERS

BA LEADER
Adrian Beltre
BA HR RBI R
.324 15 55 53
OTHER LEADERS
HRA. Beltre 15
RBIA. Beltre 55
RA. Beltre 53
OPSA. Beltre .888
WY. Darvish 9
ERAY. Darvish 2.92
SOY. Darvish 159