Rangers notes: Saunders interrupts streak of right-handed pitchers

Posted Friday, May. 24, 2013  comments  Print Reprints
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A month ago the Texas Rangers were in a stretch where they couldn’t miss a left-handed starting pitcher.

They faced a lefty in 9 of 12 games beginning April 23, which meant no shortage of playing time for the right-handed-hitting Craig Gentry and Jeff Baker.

But the tide turned May 12, when the Rangers faced the first of 11 straight right-handed starters, which meant a lack of playing for Gentry and Baker.

That duo caught a break Friday night at Safeco Field, as lefty Joe Saunders started for Seattle and they found themselves back in the Rangers’ starting lineup.

“It’s something that I’ve never seen,” Gentry said.

Neither player has been glued to the bench. Manager Ron Washington found a couple starts for Gentry against righties, and Baker got one Wednesday. They also had opportunities to pinch hit late in games.

“Those helped a lot,” Gentry said. “If I hadn’t played at all in that stretch, it would be a little tough. But, thankfully, Wash got me in there.”

Saunders was the first lefty the Rangers faced since Ian Kinsler went on the disabled list May 19, so Washington had to juggle the top of the lineup. Elvis Andrus led off, but the left-handed-hitting Mitch Moreland jumped to the No. 2 hole for the second time this season and sixth time in his career.

The other lefty hitter in the lineup, A.J. Pierzynski, batted sixth.

“I wanted to get some distance between my two lefties,” Washington said. “I don’t think that I would have put Moreland up there if he didn’t think he could handle it.”

Pitching questions

Right-hander Josh Lindblom and left-hander Martin Perez are candidates with Ross Wolf to start for the Texas Rangers on Monday in the second game of a doubleheader at Arizona.

Lindblom made his 2013 debut Monday, allowing four runs in 4 2/3 innings in an eventual 9-2 loss to the A’s, and Perez scattered three hits in seven scoreless innings Tuesday for Triple A Round Rock.

Wolf was the winning pitcher Wednesday in the Rangers’ 3-1 victory over the A’s, allowing one run on three hits in five innings, but the Rangers haven’t committed to him for another start.

“We haven’t locked that down yet,” Ron Washington said. “We have other options. We’ll see. We’ll make that determination soon.”

Pitching updates

Right-hander Nick Tepesch said that the blister on his middle finger held together Thursday during a 50-pitch bullpen session, and he will start Sunday.

Tepesch threw all of his pitches, including the slider that initially opened the blister in his last start.

“It’s getting there,” he said. “I didn’t feel it in the bullpen at all. It’s pretty close to getting where it needs to be.”

Fellow righty Alexi Ogando, on the DL with biceps tendinits, played catch Friday and plans to throw off flat ground Saturday. He will throw a bullpen session if all goes well, and could be activated May 31 without making a rehab appearance.

Briefly

• Ian Kinsler, on the DL with a strained right intercostal muscle, did not travel with the team. The Rangers thought he could receive better attention from trainers at home. There is no timeline for him to begin baseball activities.

• Third baseman Mike Olt has reported to extended spring training after his eye condition responded favorably to drops that had been prescribed by a specialist. There is no timetable for his return to Triple A Round Rock.

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