The journey for former Keller High School pitcher Jon Edwards to Globe Life Park on Friday was a long time coming. And the last leg of the right-hander’s trip to join the Texas Rangers was perhaps the longest.
Edwards, 26, who was drafted by the St. Louis Cardinals out of Keller in 2006, signed with the Rangers in 2012 after a year in independent leagues. He spent most of this season with Double A Frisco and Triple A Round Rock before getting the call to join the Rangers.
Getting to Arlington from Round Rock wasn’t easy. Traffic on Interstate 35 was a mess (as it seemingly always is north of Austin) on the drive up and then he had a tire blow out in Hillsboro.
“I had to get out and change a tire in Hillsboro, so it was pretty crazy,” he said.
He arrived in time and made his major league debut in the eighth inning. His first big-league batter? Albert Pujols, who fouled out. After giving up a single and a walk, Edwards struck out Erick Aybar looking at a 85 mph slider before being replaced by left-hander Alex Claudio.
“I was real excited. I actually wasn’t as nervous as I thought I would be, which I think was good,” said Edwards, who had a large group of family and friends in attendance. “It’s an incredible blessing. [I’m] just thankful to my family and friends that I’m here and all the people that have encouraged and supported me over the years. It’s awesome that I get to play for Texas.”
Tepesch tamed Angels
Rangers pitcher Nick Tepesch was about the only starter who didn’t get rocked by the Angels when they last visited Arlington in early July.
He allowed three runs on six hits in six innings in a 3-0 loss on July 11. In the other three games the Angels outscored Texas 30-15.
Tepesch (4-7) starts the series finale at 2 p.m. Sunday against Angels left-hander Hector Santiago (3-7). Tepesch credited his fastball command for being able to stay out of trouble. He walked none, struck out two and allowed only one extra-base hit, a solo homer to Mike Trout.
“It’s a great lineup. They’ve got a lot of good hitters, top to bottom,” he said. “It’s just a matter of what works and what didn’t work and maybe trying some new things as well.”
Claudio’s comic relief
Manager Ron Washington was laughing out of relief after rookie Alex Claudio was able to retire the one batter he faced in the eighth inning Friday.
Washington brought in the left-handed Claudio to face left-handed-hitting Brennan Boesch, but the Angels responded by pinch-hitting with a righty.
Washington told Claudio, “I’m bringing you in for the third day, if you don’t get this left-hander you’re going to make me look bad.”
While he was telling Claudio that, the Angels were making their switch, and third baseman Adrian Beltre interjected: “He’s going to make you look bad because they’ve changed to a right-hander.”
Claudio assured them. “Don’t worry about it. I got it,” he said.
Washington said he watched, with fingers crossed, as Claudio struck out Collin Cowgill on four pitches.
Claudio has allowed one hit and struck out three in 2 1/3 innings in three games since joining the Rangers on Wednesday.