CLEVELAND — Tanner Scheppers had a contusion and bruise on his left eye after being “sucker punched” on a street in downtown Cleveland on Thursday night, which left him unavailable to pitch in Friday’s 11-inning game.The assault occurred about two blocks from the Texas Rangers’ team hotel after Scheppers left to get some food and was approached by a group of young males.Scheppers said he was blindsided by a punch to his left eye and hit the ground hard. The group scattered after that and didn’t rob him.“One of those freak things … wrong place at the wrong time,” said Scheppers, a right-handed reliever who is 6-foot-4 and 200 pounds. “It happened so quickly. The police were called and they said unfortunately this happens quite a bit.”The police said it was unlikely they would be able to track down the assailants, and no report was filed. A Cleveland police spokesman said no additional information has become available about the incident.Scheppers felt “lucky” that he didn’t sustain more serious injuries. He had Friday off as he was shaken up and had headaches the day after the attack.“You don’t expect anything like that,” Scheppers said. “I went down pretty hard … dropped like a sack of potatoes.”The Rangers conducted concussion tests on Scheppers, and he passed them. He was available on Saturday but did not pitch.“I wish it wouldn’t have happened, and I’m glad he’s not hurt,” manager Ron Washington said. “But that doesn’t just happen here in Cleveland. It happens in New Orleans. It happens in Texas. It happens everywhere. Riffraff is everywhere.”Rehab next?Left-hander Matt Harrison feels ready to begin a medical rehabilitation assignment after throwing a 50-pitch live batting practice session Saturday.Harrison, rehabbing from a pair of back surgeries earlier this season, threw 25 pitches from the windup, took a three- to four-minute break and then threw his final 25 pitches from the stretch.“Everything from the start to the end — no issues,” Harrison said. “My back felt good, my arm felt good. I’m ready to get back into a game situation.”Harrison threw all of his pitches well but said it was difficult to find the release point with his curveball as the session took place inside at the cages with rain falling most of the afternoon.Harrison said his velocity felt better than his last session, and the four batters he faced — Geovany Soto, Craig Gentry, Jurickson Profar and Engel Beltre — agreed.Beltre in, Murphy outEngel Beltre started consecutive games for the first time in the big leagues, batting second and playing left field for the second consecutive game Saturday.Ron Washington wanted to give the rookie two straight starts, and it came at the expense of David Murphy, who was 4 for 4 in his career against Indians starter Justin Masterson.Murphy, though, understood the decision as he has struggled at the plate all season.“I’ve had an inconsistent year,” Murphy said. “But I still think there are plenty of things I can do to help this team win in the second half. I’m here and ready when called upon.”Washington said Murphy would return to the starting lineup Sunday.Briefly• First baseman Mitch Moreland went into Saturday’s game 2 for his last 29. Said Ron Washington: “When you’re struggling, there is a level of concern, but I still have him in the lineup so I can’t be too concerned. Just keep putting him out there and hope tonight is the night that the struggles cease.”• The Angels announced their rotation for the upcoming Rangers series at Rangers Ballpark. Jered Weaver will start the three-game series opener on Monday followed by C.J. Wilson and Jerome Williams.
Drew Davison, 817-390-7760 Twitter: @drewdavison