Rangers notes: Bullpen features four lefties after Burns sent down

Posted Wednesday, May. 22, 2013  comments  Print Reprints
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Texas Rangers manager Ron Washington doesn’t see why having four left-handed relievers would be considered a handicap, especially if they can get left- and right-handed batters out.

And that’s what Washington believes he has with his four lefties in the Texas Rangers’ seven-man bullpen. The Rangers optioned right-hander Cory Burns to Triple A Round Rock on Wednesday, instead of one of their left-handers, to clear a spot for starter Ross Wolf.

Joseph Ortiz appeared to be the most likely left-hander to be sent down, as he has options and has a 6.52 ERA over his last nine appearances.

“In Ortiz’s case, we’re not ready to go there yet if we go there,” Washington said. “We had to make a decision and when you look at it, [Burns] is the 25th man.”

Burns was called up last Thursday when Alexi Ogando landed on the disabled list, and appeared in three games with a 4.91 ERA.

The move leaves the Rangers with three right-handers in Jason Frasor, Tanner Scheppers and closer Joe Nathan, and four lefties with Ortiz, Michael Kirkman, Robbie Ross and Neal Cotts.

Cotts made an impressive debut Tuesday with a perfect six-pitch ninth inning in his first big-league game in nearly four years to the date.

“In the bullpen warming up, there were quite a bit of emotions,” Cotts said. “I was pretty amped up, but once I got onto the field it was calm.”

Rotation update

Justin Grimm, Derek Holland and Nick Tepesch are the scheduled starters for this weekend’s three-game series at Seattle, and Yu Darvish is penciled in to start Game 1 of the doubleheader in Phoenix on Monday.

The second starter Monday is still to be determined, but the options include Ross Wolf, Josh Lindblom and Martin Perez.

Perez threw seven scoreless innings, scattering three hits with no walks and seven strikeouts, for Triple A Round Rock on Tuesday. He threw only 77 pitches, though, and might need another start or two to build up enough stamina to pitch in the big leagues.

“He’s a candidate, if needed,” Rangers general manager Jon Daniels said.

Perez is recovering from a broken left arm he suffered in spring training, and has made only four starts between Double A Frisco and Round Rock this season.

In other rotation news, Colby Lewis (flexor tendon surgery) is scheduled to throw a bullpen session Thursday. If that goes well, he’ll make another medical rehabilitation assignment with Triple A Round Rock on Saturday in Memphis.

Alexi Ogando (right biceps tendinitis), meanwhile, is set to throw his first bullpen Sunday or Monday on the upcoming road trip.

Getting a break

Mitch Moreland played in all 46 games, including 43 starts, going into Wednesday’s game, and Ron Washington felt the everyday first baseman was “a little fatigued.”

Washington gave Moreland the day off until using him as a defensive replacement in the eighth inning, which essentially makes it a two-day break with the Rangers off Thursday. Jeff Baker started at first base for the third time this season.

Moreland, who went 0 for 3 with three strikeouts Tuesday, will return to the lineup Friday against Seattle left-hander Joe Saunders.

“I’ll let him go against that left-hander because that might lock him back in,” Washington said.

Briefly

• Ian Kinsler, on the disabled list with a right intercostal strain, said he expects to be ready June 2, the first day he’s eligible to return. “I’m anticipating that,” Kinsler said.

• The Rangers-Athletics game Tuesday drew a 6.9 rating in Dallas-Fort Worth, the highest-rated TV game of the season on Fox Sports Southwest. It was the third-most watched prime-time program in the Metroplex that night behind Dancing With the Stars and The Voice.

Drew Davison, 817-390-7760 Twitter: @drewdavison

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