Texas Rangers manager Jeff Banister thought Elvis Andrus was safe at third base Thursday night against the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Andrus was called out after initially being ruled safe when the Dodgers challenged the call, which ended the top of the seventh.
Andrus took some Internet flak from some for making the third out in a scoreless game. He had singled against the Dodgers’ Zack Greinke when he tried to move from first to third on Robinson Chirinos’ single to left field.
Replays showed Andrus was tagged out when his hand came off the bag in the middle of his slide. Besides thinking he was safe, Banister liked Andrus making the risky move on the bases.
“I was happy that Elvis made the decision to go to third base because that cat we were facing [Thursday night] is as about as stingy as any pitcher in baseball,” Banister said. “You don’t get hits off of him, you don’t walk off of him, your contact ratio is very low. So trying to create in that moment, to me, was a plus for Elvis and this ballclub.”
Texas had four singles in the game, all in Greinke’s seven innings, including two in the seventh.
“I think he made the right decision on going to third base,” Banister said. “It took a video replay for him to be called out. There comes a time when you do have to push the envelope against guys and take risks in situations to try to win a ballgame, that’s what we’re trying to do. We can sit there and look really good at second base and watch the next guy not get a shot and we’d feel really [bad] if he had thrown a wild pitch there.”
Rua, Claudio return
Ryan Rua was activated off the 60-day disabled list and started Friday night against the White Sox in left field.
Rua was the Rangers’ Opening Day left fielder and started five games before fracturing a bone in his right heel April 10. He was batting .175 in 12 games with Triple A Round Rock.
To make room for Rua, outfielder Jake Smolinski was designated for assignment. Texas has 10 days to trade, release, or outright Smolinski to the minor leagues.
Left-handed reliever Alex Claudio was recalled from Round Rock. Starting pitcher Anthony Ranaudo was optioned back to Round Rock after 6 2/3 scoreless innings against the Dodgers on Thursday.
Claudio gives Banister some flexibility in the bullpen. He has a 1.08 ERA in 16 2/3 innings with the Express. Claudio gives Texas three left-handers in the bullpen, along with Sam Freeman and Ross Detwiler.
No balking at balk call
The balk by Rangers’ Keone Kela that scored the Dodgers’ game-winning run in the ninth Thursday, was indeed, a balk, Banister reiterated Friday afternoon.
But he still hated to see a balk decide a closely contested game. Banister agreed that Kela’s slight shoulder movement before stepping off the rubber was, by the rule book, a balk. But, Banister said, it’s nothing compared to the movement many pitchers make when a runner is on first.
“You watch the pitchers with a runner at first base and you get a number of them flinching, turning and not stopping and doing all the things that they do,” he said. “To get it called with a runner at third base, two-out, two-strike situation, the tough taste for me on that one is you’d like to see it get played out on the competition between the players.”
Kela took it in stride.
“It’s one of the thousand things I’m experiencing in my young career,” Kela said. “I’m grateful it happened now, it’s a learning lesson. Next time I’ll just be a stone wall up there.”
Perez resumes rehab
Left-hander Martin Perez (Tommy John surgery) will return to his rehab stint after throwing a bullpen session at Round Rock on Friday.
Perez had been sidelined the past week after feeling tightness in his left groin during his first rehab start on June 10. He’ll resume his rehab with his second start on Monday at Double A Frisco.
Stefan Stevenson, 817-390-7760