Rangers notes: Trio of relievers had rare off days in marathon win Tuesday

Posted Wednesday, Jul. 31, 2013  comments  Print Reprints
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Tanner Scheppers just called it an off day. The same went for Joakim Soria and Robbie Ross on Tuesday night.

Those three have been reliable for the most part this season but struggled in their latest outings. Fortunately for the Rangers, they were able to overcome them in a 14-11 extra-inning victory.

Scheppers gave up career highs with four runs (one earned) and five hits over his inning of work. The turning point in the eighth inning came when he dropped a ball during a rundown that would have been the second out of the inning, but instead left a runner on with one out.

“That was my fault, and it snowballed from there,” said Scheppers, who has a 1.82 ERA. “Just an off day. I think the best pitchers are the ones with the shortest memories; you can’t dwell on the past. I just left some balls up, but I can’t lose confidence in what I’ve done this year or my ability or my stuff.”

Soria and Ross ran into trouble the previous inning, allowing three runs in the seventh. With two outs, Soria gave up a single and two walks. Ross entered for a lefty-lefty matchup against Josh Hamilton, who lined a three-run double to left-center field.

“It was a bad day, but it’s part of the game,” Soria said. “I tried to make quality pitches and they didn’t swing at them. They held the bat and I ended up walking them.”

Ross, meanwhile, continued his struggles against left-handed batters. They are now 12 for the last 23 (.522) with three home runs against him.

Rangers manager Ron Washington said Ross simply needs to execute his pitches better in those situations, particularly making sure his cutter doesn’t leak over the plate against lefties.

Berkman undecided

Lance Berkman isn’t ready to call it quits yet. He is still trying to decide whether he is physically able to return and provide the impact bat the Rangers’ offense needs.

Berkman’s recovery from left hip inflammation has gone slowly, although he was ready to take swings in the cage Wednesday and intends to make the upcoming road trip with the team.

“I haven’t made any kind of decision,” the 37-year-old Berkman said. “I don’t think the landscape is settled enough to make a good decision yet.”

Berkman said he would like to think he could be the offensive threat the Rangers are searching for, but said: “This isn’t cut-and-dried stuff.”

The Rangers would gladly take what Berkman did in April, batting .319 with eight extra-base hits and 15 RBIs. But Berkman was batting .176 his final 20 games before landing on the DL.

“It’s not a matter of going out there on the field, it’s a matter of how effective I’ll be when I get out there,” Berkman said. “That’s where the rubber meets the road.”

Briefly

• Left-hander Matt Harrison, rehabbing from two early-season back surgeries, began his medical rehabilitation assignment with Double A Frisco at Midland on Wednesday. He threw 11/3 scoreless innings, allowing two hits with one walk and two strikeouts. He threw 31 pitches, 18 strikes, and is scheduled for another rehab start with Frisco on Sunday.

• Right-hander Nick Tepesch, on the disabled list with right elbow inflammation, has begun a throwing program and is in the early stages of only playing catch. “It has felt good, and they told me that everything looks fine and checked out,” Tepesch said. “Just one of those things that you’ve got to give it time.”

• Geovany Soto made his third consecutive start at catcher Wednesday, as Ron Washington stuck with a hot bat. Soto had homered in the previous two games. A.J. Pierzynski served as the designated hitter again.

• The D’backs changed their starting pitchers for Thursday’s game. They will go with right-hander Zeke Spruill instead of Randall Delgado.

• Luis Sardinas and Rougned Odor, two of the higher-regarded infield prospects at High A Myrtle Beach, are expected to be promoted to Double A Frisco.

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

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