Two important parts of the Texas Rangers’ pitching staff, reliever Tanner Scheppers and starter Ross Detwiler, got a vote of confidence from manager Jeff Banister on Tuesday.
Even if their starts to the season haven’t exactly inspired confidence.
Scheppers has struggled with his command after a spring training ankle injury. In 11/3 innings, he’s allowed four earned runs on two hits and three walks, which all came in his last outing Sunday in Seattle when he walked the bases loaded with a 10-5 lead in the eighth.
Banister suggested that he’ll try to work Scheppers back into the mix with a more stress-free spot. A five-run lead in the eighth, Banister said, was not exactly a stress-free spot for him against the Mariners’ lineup.
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“It’s a case of things, I think snowballed on him a little bit,” he said. “Things like that happen. You’d like to think guys have a stress management routine for themselves, come back off the mound to gather themselves. It happens to some of the best players from time to time. I still feel comfortable about Schepp and his stuff.”
Banister hopes it’ll enable Scheppers to “exhale,” in the same way Leonys Martin seemed to after being moved from the leadoff spot to the back half of the lineup.
“We’re still committed to him,” he said. “You have to pay attention to your players where they are mentally, physically.”
Banister met with left-hander Ross Detwiler before Tuesday’s game against the Arizona Diamondbacks to check on those things. Detwiler has allowed five earned runs in each of his first three starts, including 21/3 innings on Sunday at Seattle in which he surrendered three home runs.
“Reassured him that there’s no less commitment to him either,” Banister said. “Where is he at, where is his mindset, what is he working on. How can we help him best to improve?
Detwiler will continue to start, Banister said, dismissing the idea that Detwiler would be moved to the bullpen.
“He’s done some video work,” Banister said. “What has made him so successful when he was successful in his past? Let’s figure that one out.”
That starts with creating angle on his pitches, something Detwiler has failed to do when he has struggled. That requires more patience during his delivery to keep his weight properly back to allow his front foot to extend. The adjustment would bring his throwing arm out front to create an angle on his pitches.
Detwiler, for the time being, will get that chance.
Pitcher Matt Harrison, who has been rehabbing in Surprise, Ariz., along with Martin Perez since Thursday, will throw an 80-pitch bullpen session Wednesday at Chase Field in Phoenix.
Harrison, who is recovering from spinal fusion surgery, hopes to return in June. He expects to throw his first live batting practice next week in Surprise.
Meat you in Phoenix
Banister and his coaches dined at Fogo de Chao on Monday night in Phoenix. According to Banister, pitching coach Mike Maddux waddled away as the meat-eating champion.
“He may be skinny but that man can eat some meat now,” Banister said. “I don’t think I ever saw that little card flip to red.”
Banister said he bowed out early at the Brazilian steakhouse.
“I rose the flag up early,” he said.
Tepesch gets paid
Right-hander Nick Tepesch was moved to the major league 15-day disabled list from the minor league DL, retroactive to March 30. The move gains Tepesch major league service time back to Opening Day that comes with a major league salary.
Stefan Stevenson, 817-390-7760