Texas Rangers

Walks, not homers, worry Rangers’ Griffin

A.J. Griffin retired the first six batters he faced Friday before running into trouble in the third and fourth innings.
A.J. Griffin retired the first six batters he faced Friday before running into trouble in the third and fourth innings. rrodriguez@star-telegram.com

A.J. Griffin was advised a few years ago by Hall of Fame right-hander Bert Blyleven to keep throwing strikes and stay on the attack, even if it means giving up the occasional home run.

Blyleven, who pitched for the Texas Rangers in 1976-77, should know. He’s the MLB record holder for homers allowed in one season (50, 1986). Griffin allowed two in his first 2017 start for the Rangers and has a penchant for surrendering the long ball.

The key for is making sure no one is one base when an opposing hitter goes deep. One of the two distance blows he allowed Friday was a three-run homer after a walk and hit batsman.

Griffin, who lasted only 3 1/3 innings, also said that he had no issues with the minor cuts on his hand from his dive on the warning track behind home plate to keep an errant throw from going into the camera well.

“I’m not worried about the homers but the walks,” said Griffin, who allowed 28 homers last season in 23 starts. “The two homers I missed locations, but I still tried to go get them.”

His goal in his second start of the season, scheduled for Wednesday, is to throw more strikes. He retired the first six Oakland A’s on Friday, but lost the strike zone after a long break before the third inning.

“I was doing a good job of that,” Griffin said. “Just stay on the attack and be aggressive.”

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