Tanner Scheppers says when he returns in 2015 he’ll be back in the bullpen.
The right-hander, who has been out since June 11 with elbow inflammation, has spent much of the season on the disabled list and will not return this season.
“It is definitive. I will be a reliever for next year,” Scheppers said before Tuesday night’s game against the Rays. “I think everyone kind of agreed that it’s probably the best thing for the organization. I’m not shutting down that I want to be a starter at some point in my career, but in the near future I’m going to be in a relief role.”
Scheppers was converted to a starter after 115 relief appearances combined in 2012 and 2013. He had a 1.88 ERA in 762/3 innings last season. In 2014, he made four starts in eight games with a 9.00 ERA in 23 innings before the injury.
“Once it happened again I think they wanted to take a more precautionary route and make sure it got right this time instead of rushing back,” he said. “It’s definitely disappointing but at the same time I’ve got to take care of what I need to take care of right now to get healthy.”
He’s doing that with rehab work at Dr. Keith Meister’s facility and working out at Globe Life Park. He hopes to start a throwing program in a few weeks. It’ll be closer to eight weeks before he’s throwing from a mound, he said.
“Doing everything without touching a baseball. It’s all I really can do,” said Scheppers, who added he wants to do whatever it is that gets him back on the field. If that’s returning to the bullpen, so be it.
“I’m not really in that position to make that call. I just want to play again at this point. That’s really all it comes down to. They have more faith in the fact that I’ve done it before and I think I do too.”
Mikolas got ‘too cute’
Miles Mikolas, who starts Wednesday against Tampa Bay, tried to get “a little too cute” after getting ahead of hitters Friday in Houston. He also failed to quickly get out of innings after recording two outs.
“Try not to get too greedy,” he said. “I think I got into a little trouble last time when I tried to be a little too fine on the edges of the strike zone, especially with two outs. Guys are just trying to get on base.”
The temptation, he said, is to try getting a batter to swing at a pitch out of the zone when you’re ahead in the count. But too often, he prolonged innings and Mikolas had to leave after matching a career-high 105 pitches in five innings.
“It’s a big mental part of the game. You get two quick outs and you get real excited. You get a little too cute and stuff and immediately try to strike a guy out and you start nibbling at the edges and getting away from what got you those first two outs in the first place,” he said.
Scott Baker isn’t taking it personally. But you’d forgive him if he has a small circle of doubt.
The Rangers are 0-20 in games he’s pitched, although typically he’s been forced to come in with the Rangers losing.
“I guess I take the mindset that I pitch when they tell me to pitch and it’s just worked out where in every case the team has lost,” said Baker, 32. “It doesn’t really bother me, to be honest. Of course, it’d be nice to, even if it was the ninth inning, it’d be nice to be up by a few runs and shake some hands.”
Manager Ron Washington said Baker’s ability to eat up innings when the starting pitching has faltered “has saved our butts so many times.”
“That’s his job. He’s a pro. He’s the best guy we’ve ever had in that job,” Washington said. “Too bad he has to have a part of it when we’re not doing very well. You can’t ask for more than what he’s done for us.”
“I know it’s nothing personal or they’re purposely trying to do,” said Baker, who started paying attention to the trend when it got to be 0-14. “You’re still trying to go out and do a job regardless of the score, whether it’s to provide innings for the team and save the bullpen or get guys out.”