Phil Klein will make the first start of his big-league career Wednesday, but it’s not like 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’ rotation 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 81/3 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. 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 at 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 tinker with his breaking ball.
The Rangers also passed on Anthony Ranaudo, 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. ... but this is an opportunity to see Phil Klein and allow Chi Chi the opportunity to develop.”
No platoon yet
Leonys Martin’s left wrist is healthy, or at least healthy enough to play, but the left-handed hitter was out of the Rangers’ lineup in their series opener against Boston lefty Wade Miley.
Instead, the right-handed-hitting Delino DeShields started in Martin’s usual spot in center field. While that looks like a platoon, Banister said that it had more to do with DeShields’ approach against a nibbler like Miley.
DeShields had drawn 10 walks this season, three more than Martin in 67 fewer plate appearances. Martin is batting .271 against lefties, 120 points better than against righties, while DeShields is batting .235 against lefties.
“It kind of plays into the hands of the way Delino has been taking his at-bats,” Banister said. “It’s trying to use all of our players in the best situation for them.”
Banister said that he expects Martin to return to the lineup Wednesday against Red Sox right-hander Joe Kelly.
Left-hander Matt Harrison (back) could be headed to Double A Frisco next week after a third start at extended spring training.
Harrison started Monday, allowing two runs in three innings and throwing 44 pitches. His velocity touched 90 mph in the first inning.
Holland, who is out with a strained subscapularis muscle in his left shoulder, is scheduled for another MRI exam on Friday and could begin a throwing program next week.
Jeff Wilson, 817-390-7760