Josh Lindblom never expected to start in the big leagues. He always viewed himself as a reliever at the highest level and didn’t fully commit to starting.
That changed this spring, though, when Lindblom didn’t break camp with the Texas Rangers and the team asked if he would be interested in starting at Triple A Round Rock.
Lindblom said he would after having a long talk with veteran Derek Lowe about it. That talk changed Lindblom’s mentality about starting, as he embraced it and has excelled in the role.
And on Monday, Lindblom will do something he never imagined — start in the big leagues. The Rangers will recall Lindblom prior to Monday night’s game against the Athletics, as the 6-foot-4 right-hander fills in for the injured Alexi Ogando.
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“It’s almost like another approach to my career,” said Lindblom, acquired this off-season in the Michael Young trade.
“To get here as a starter and impact the game every five days is huge and I love the routine. I’m just excited to get out there and pitch.”
Lindblom went 4-0 with a 2.08 ERA over eight games, including seven starts, with the Express, and has utilized his four-pitch mix.
As a reliever, he’d generally throw a fastball and one of his secondary pitches, but he is now throwing all of them —changeup, slider and curveball. Lindblom has also shed 10-15 pounds since moving from the bullpen to the rotation.
“He’s throwing the ball extremely well,” manager Ron Washington said. “I told him to have fun and enjoy yourself because that’s what I tell everybody when they come up here. The game itself, he has to figure it out. I can’t figure it out for him.”
Rangers general manager Jon Daniels said the team had a couple options to consider as far as the roster move they’ll make to clear a spot for Lindblom.
Elvis Andrus is expected to take over the leadoff role while Ian Kinsler is on the disabled list, and David Murphy is penciled in the two-hole for the time being.
Andrus had five hits from the top spot Saturday, and understands the role as he filled it throughout the 2010 season. But he has no visions of taking over Kinsler’s spot.
“I can hit 1.000 and I’ll still be hitting second when he comes back,” Andrus said. “I can’t wait for him to be back because he’s one of the best leadoff hitters in the game right now.”
Ron Washington intends to keep Murphy higher in the lineup to try and get him going offensively. Murphy said he likes being higher in the order, but said he won’t alter his approach.
“I don’t know if it’s going to change the results, but being in the two-hole is a good spot to be in this lineup,” said Murphy, who went into Sunday’s game with a .205 average.
A.J. Pierzynski went 0 for 3 with a strikeout and caught five innings in his first of an expected two-game medical rehabilitation assignment with Double A Frisco. He will catch Colby Lewis’ start Monday and is expected to rejoin the Rangers on Tuesday.
Joakim Soria, recovering from Tommy John elbow surgery and a strained pectoral muscle, is progressing well and could begin throwing off a mound in early June, Jon Daniels said.
If all goes well, Soria could be on pace to join the Rangers in early July.
Mike Olt, meanwhile, is on a hitting program but there has yet to be an official diagnosis on his vision/eye issues. He saw an eye specialist last week, and the issue is not related to a concussion he sustained during winter ball.