August 17, 2012

Oswalt gets Dempster's start

TORONTO -- Ryan Dempster, born and raised in Gibsons, British Columbia, didn't return to his home country with the Texas Rangers, and won't make his scheduled start today.

Dempster didn't fly with the team to Canada from New York, and was placed on the restricted list for "personal reasons." It's not considered a serious issue team-wise.

Dempster is expected to rejoin the team when they return home Monday, but when he starts again remains unknown. Manger Ron Washington said he would set the rotation today.

Dempster, acquired from the Cubs at the trade deadline, has gone 1-1 with an 8.31 ERA in three starts with Texas.

Roy Oswalt will return to the rotation today for a spot start. Oswalt last pitched Aug. 8 in Boston, but threw approximately 40 pitches Wednesday when he warmed up at Yankee Stadium.

"We'll see how it goes," Oswalt said. "It should be interesting. [Being in the bullpen] has been a little different than what I'm normal to. Usually I start every five days, but now I just sit down there and wait on a phone call.

"I'll try to keep the game close and help the team win."

Oswalt and manager Ron Washington didn't know how many pitches would be realistic today. Oswalt last started July 30.

"I'm more than certain he won't be able to stay out there and give us 114 pitches unless things work out well," Washington said. "We'll see how things go and see how deep he can take this. Right now, it's just viewed as a spot start. Don't read anything more into it."

Martin up

The Rangers recalled outfielder Leonys Martin from Triple A Round Rock to take Ryan Dempster's spot on the active roster. The move gets the Rangers back to a four-man bench and seven-man bullpen.

The original plan was to carry an extra reliever the entire road trip so the Rangers could sort out their pitching, but Ron Washington believes that has been accomplished. Additionally, the Rangers are being cautious with a few everyday players with past hamstring issues -- Nelson Cruz, Adrian Beltre and Mitch Moreland -- on the artificial turf at the Rogers Centre.

"We're fine in the pitching department," Washington said. "The guys have stepped up, but we wanted to make sure we had an extra position player. The weakest part is in the outfield."

Cruz, nursing a sore right hamstring, didn't start for the second consecutive game Friday, but did enter the game later.

Lefty relievers

Michael Kirkman came through in a critical situation Thursday at Yankee Stadium, holding a one-run lead during a stressful seventh inning.

It was a big moment for Kirkman, one that could help earn him a more prominent bullpen role.

"The key to Kirk is just being able to throw strikes," Ron Washington said. "If he can continue to pound the strike zone, his role can become bigger and bigger. It'd be nice to have him and Robbie [Ross] down there."

Ross started the season red-hot, but has faltered of late. He has a 6.43 ERA and has issued 11 walks over his last 11 appearances (seven innings).

"He's just got to work his way through his issues," Washington said. "We believe he'll pass the test and come back. He'll figure it out."

Drew Davison, 817-390-7760

Twitter: @drewdavison

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