April 17, 2013

Rain washes out Rangers, could do same Thursday

No makeup date was announced, but May 9 is a possibility.

Heavy rains moved over Wrigley Field around 3:30 p.m. Wednesday, and a forecast for steady rain the rest of the night forced the postponement of the Texas Rangers’ game against the Chicago Cubs.

The teams will try to play only one game Thursday afternoon. But Thursday’s forecast calls for more heavy rain, leaving a realistic possibility that the Rangers will have to return later in the season for two games and not just one.

No makeup date was announced for Wednesday’s game, though May 9 seems most likely. Both teams have a mutual off day, and the Rangers will be coming off a two-game series at nearby Milwaukee.

May 6 is also a mutual off day, but Cubs players would have to approve playing that day. They would be finishing a stretch of 20 games in 20 days, and under the collective bargaining agreement would have to approve playing any additional games without a day off.

“According to the radar, it doesn’t look good,” manager Ron Washington said. “We’ve just got to hope the weathermen are wrong.”

Alexi Ogando is still the Rangers’ scheduled starter despite the rainout, and Carlos Villanueva is scheduled for the Cubs. The Rangers have pushed back rookie Justin Grimm, who was scheduled to start Wednesday, to Sunday.

Fellow right-handers Yu Darvish and Nick Tepesch will pitch Friday and Saturday to open a three-game homestand against Seattle. The rotation shuffle will leave left-hander Derek Holland, Ogando and Darvish to pitch April 22-24 at Anaheim.

No deal

The Rangers will know by Friday whether Julio Borbon will stay in the organization or if he will be gobbled up by another team.

They learned definitely Wednesday that no team would trade for the outfielder.

Borbon was placed on outright waivers after no trade developed for the former Opening Day center fielder, who was designated for assignment last week.

Teams have until noon Friday to make a claim. The team with the highest waiver priority, based on the reverse order of last season’s final standings, will get the player. If Borbon clears waivers, which the Rangers are not expecting, he would be assigned to Triple A Round Rock.

Houston, which has shown interest in Borbon since spring training, is first on the list. Chicago (NL), Minnesota, Miami and New York (NL) are also teams high in the pecking order that need help in the outfield.

But those teams didn’t make a deal in part because they knew that Borbon would hit waivers and they could possibly claim him for $20,000 rather than trade away a player or cash considerations.

Baltimore had also shown interest in Borbon, but decided to pass on a trade.

Backing Kirkman

Left-hander Michael Kirkman allowed both Cubs runs in a wild ninth-inning Tuesday, the second time he has entered a game this season and pitched poorly with the Rangers holding a comfortable lead.

Ron Washington, though, said that the Rangers need Kirkman to be an integral part of their bullpen and will continue to get opportunities until he can find his rhythm.

“You keep giving him the ball in situations where if he has a hiccup he can work out of it,” Washington said of Kirkman, who has a 7.20 ERA. “He’s important to us in that bullpen. We’ve got to figure out a way to get him right.”

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