Wolf says he can go Tuesday if needed for spot start

Posted Sunday, Aug. 18, 2013  comments  Print Reprints
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Ross Wolf declared himself ready if called upon to make Tuesday’s start.

The Texas Rangers have a good idea of who will make that start in place of Alexi Ogando, who is sidelined with an inflamed nerve in his right shoulder. Wolf is a candidate, as well as newly acquired left-hander Travis Blackley, but no announcement was ready Sunday afternoon.

Josh Lindblom is out of the mix after starting for Triple A Round Rock on Sunday night.

Wolf threw a scoreless inning in the Rangers’ 15-3 victory on Saturday, his first appearance in 10 days. He believes he could give the Rangers about 70 pitches Tuesday, which might be enough to get through five innings considering Wolf averages about 14 pitches an inning.

“I can give them all I got,” said Wolf, who has made three starts this season. “But I haven’t heard anything, haven’t been told anything.”

Blackley threw 40 pitches over three innings in his first appearance with the Express on Thursday, and would be on a regular four days’ rest for Tuesday’s start.

As far as Ogando, the Rangers are still waiting to see how he reacts to a cortisone injection received on Saturday to determine if he needs to return to the disabled list. Ogando said he plans to throw Monday, which could help make that determination.

Better bench

The Rangers entered Sunday’s game with the second-best average by pinch hitters in the American League. Their pinch hitters have a .286 average (22 for 80) so far, including a league-best .368 on-base percentage.

That’s a drastic improvement from last season when the pinch hitters combined for a .173 (14 for 81) average. The Rangers have a higher on-base percentage than slugging percentage, but manager Ron Washington is fine with that.

Compared to past years, he’s happy having a productive bench. The Rangers have gotten quality pinch-hit at-bats from Craig Gentry, David Murphy, Jeff Baker and Leonys Martin this season. In previous years, Washington had weaker bench options such as Alberto Gonzalez, Brandon Snyder and Andres Blanco.

“We haven’t had this kind of bench since I’ve been here,” Washington said. “And nobody is complaining about playing time, so it helps to move people around and give everyone a chance.”

Martin gets break

Leonys Martin had started 22 consecutive games and Ron Washington felt it was time to get his center fielder/ leadoff man a day off Sunday.

Martin is 1 for his last 11 — the lone hit being an RBI single Saturday — and batting .239 his past 29 games. Martin said the break had nothing to do with getting hit in the back with a pitch Saturday.

“Everyone needs rest at some point,” Martin said. “You play so many games that a day off is OK.”

Craig Gentry started in center and batted leadoff for the third time in his career.

Briefly

• Monday’s starter, Matt Garza, has allowed four runs in each of his last three starts, giving up multiple home runs in each of his last two starts. Ron Washington said going from the National League to the American League wasn’t a factor in Garza’s recent struggles. “He’s pitched in the American League before and, if he executes his stuff where he wants to, it doesn’t matter what league he’s in,” Washington said.

• Lance Berkman remains on the disabled list with left hip inflammation, and it appears more likely that he’ll be activated on Sept. 1 when rosters expand.

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

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