Rangers notes: Case closed on Tanner Scheppers’ incident

Posted Monday, Jul. 29, 2013  comments  Print Reprints
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Panini-gate, the curious case of Tanner Scheppers’ food run in Cleveland, has been closed, Rangers officials said Monday.

The team has accepted Scheppers’ original explanation, backed by teammates Joe Nathan and A.J. Pierzynski, who were with the Rangers’ right-handed reliever, that he was attacked randomly by an unknown assailant as he left Panini’s Bar and Grill for a late night bite.

A report surfaced later that cast doubt on that account, suggesting Scheppers was involved, and may have been an instigator, in a bar fight.

The Rangers confirmed that Cleveland police drove Scheppers and another player back to the hotel, but a team spokesman said reports that the incident was a “bar fight are just not accurate.”

Scheppers showed the effects of the bushwhacking on Monday with scratches on his forehead and a fading dark circle under his left eye.

He didn’t tell team officials that Nathan and Pierzynski were with him because he didn’t want to “involve them.”

Scheppers said his teammates’ roles in the episode amounted to picking him “up off the floor.”

“I really don’t have any further information,” said Scheppers, who gave the same answer when asked about a witness’ account that a heated verbal exchange preceded the physical altercation.

“I’ve turned the page. Unfortunately, the incident happened. Next time I’ll be a little more careful.”

Lineup shakeup

Center fielder Leonys Martin made his first career start from the leadoff spot as part of manager Ron Washington’s lineup shuffle, designed to energize an offense that entered the first of three games against the Los Angeles Angels on a 21-inning scoreless streak.

Ian Kinsler, a fixture as the team’s leadoff hitter the past several years, hit third. Nelson Cruz, who had been hitting third, was moved to sixth.

Mitch Moreland hit ninth.

“We’re trying to get something going,” Washington said. “There’s been a lot of talk about Kinsler hitting in the middle, so I figured I’d try it. See if it makes a difference.”

Washington said he was eager to see how Martin would respond to his move to the top of the order. “It’s a learning process for him. We’ll see what happens.”

Washington said he planned to give Moreland off Tuesday against Angels lefty C.J. Wilson, but “if he goes out there and finds his stroke [Monday], I might have to back off. We’ll see.”

Lewis, Harrison updates

Right-handed pitcher Colby Lewis said he’s about ready to rejoin the rotation.

A fourth and, what he hopes, final rehabilitation start with Frisco on Saturday should be enough, he said.

Lewis, out all of this season recovering from elbow surgery last year and now triceps tendinitis, worked five innings, allowing three runs on four hits and five strikeouts against San Antonio on Sunday.

Team officials have had concerns about a lack of velocity.

“After my last start [July 22], I thought I could definitely be here and contribute,” Lewis said.

Lefty Matt Harrison (back surgery), hoping for an August return, will travel with Frisco and pitch two innings against Midland on Wednesday.

Briefly

• Lance Berkman didn’t travel to Cleveland so that he could receive extra treatment for his sore left hip, but the Rangers aren’t sure when he’ll be available. “His body isn’t responding,” general manager Jon Daniels said. “He’s not close.”

• Outfielder Jairo Beras, the prospect who was suspended last year for misrepresenting his age to Major League Baseball, suffered a broken bone in his left hand and needs surgery. He is expected to be ready for the Fall Instructional League.

Staff writer Jeff Wilson contributed to this report.

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