Phil Klein will make the first start of his big-league career Wednesday, but it’s not he’s making his first professional start. After Wednesday, he will have made five professional starts.
Such is the lot the Texas Rangers finds themselves with left-hander Ross Detwiler (shoulder inflammation) the latest rotation member to hit the disabled list and with no wiggle room on the 40-man roster.
Klein opened the season in the Rangers’ bullpen but was demoted after posting a 7.71 ERA in six appearances. Klein made four relief appearances at Triple A Round Rock before being converted to a starting role, and his last two appearances have been starts.
“It’s a great opportunity,” Klein said Tuesday at Fenway Park. “Wherever and whenever I need to throw I’m just going to do my best and do whatever I can.”
He allowed one run in 8 1/3 innings with a high pitch count of 84. He left his last start May 11 after being struck in the forearm by a line drive, but he was throwing without pain the next day.
The Rangers scratched Klein from his start Sunday at Colorado Springs, where he threw an extended bullpen session in advance of the start. He will likely be held to a 95-pitch limit.
Klein was the pick over fellow right-hander Alex “Chi Chi” Gonzalez, the prospect who opened eyes during spring training but hasn’t made enough progress so far at Triple A Round Rock to be a serious consideration.
Gonzalez, who also isn’t on the 40-man roster, hasn’t been as efficient as the Rangers would like, and he continues to thinker with his breaking balls.
The Rangers also passed on Anthony Ranaudo, a 40-man member who made one start last month after lefty Derek Holland hit the DL.
“All parties decided that Klein was the better fit right now,” manager Jeff Banister said. “Ranaudo has made some improvements, but needs to continue to improve. … I believe in Chi Chi. I believe in the evaluations of what we believe he’s going to be, but this is an opportunity to see Phil Klein and allow Chi Chi the opportunity to develop.”
Jeff Wilson, 817-390-7760