Texas Rangers

Ron Washington not questioning Tuesday bullpen usage

The bottom line Tuesday night is that the Texas Rangers put themselves in position to use Joakim Soria with a lead, and he couldn’t close out the win in the 13th inning.

Soria could have said that warming up in five consecutive innings wore him out, but he didn’t make any excuses, and manager Ron Washington made no apologies Wednesday for how he managed the bullpen.

“I was trying to hold onto my closer,” he said. “We put ourselves in a position we wanted to be in. Our closer didn’t get it done.”

Roman Mendez was the only reliever unavailable Wednesday after he pitched 1 2/3 innings in the 4-hour, 51-minute marathon. With Yu Darvish on the mound, the Rangers weren’t expecting a taxing night on the bullpen anyway.

But Washington had heard from some that he should have used the bullpen differently. One thing he could have done was to use Soria in the 12th with one out and the bases loaded instead of Scott Baker, who got out of the jam.

“And then we score, and then what am I supposed to do?” said Washington, who has a hard-and-fast rule of not using closers in tied games on the road.

The Rangers did score, as J.P. Arencibia started the 13th with a homer for the game’s first run. Soria then blew his second save of the season as the Yankees tied the game.

New York won it an inning later when the Rangers had to turn to Nick Tepesch, who remains on schedule to start Friday.

“I would have been on the back end of a Catch-22 regardless,” Washington said. “I would have been nailed up the wall whichever way I went.”

Though wins have been hard to come by for the Rangers, Soria said the blown save and eventual loss stunk as much as if the Rangers were 20 games above .500 instead of 20 below.

“I tried to hold it with a one-run lead, but, obviously, that didn’t happen,” said Soria, who was traded late Wednesday to the Detroit Tigers. “A blown save and lose the game, hurts the same.”

It was the latest blown save by a Rangers pitcher since Jose Cecena did it in the 13th inning on May 17, 1988, at Toronto.

Rios returns

Right fielder Alex Rios was back in the Rangers’ lineup for the first time since spraining his right ankle Saturday, but he has been active in the rumor mill while out of the lineup.

A national report said that Rios has been bothered by seeing his name as a possible trade candidate ahead of the July 31 non-waiver deadline, to the point that his performance has been affected.

Rios entered Wednesday batting .302, but was batting .231 (27 for 117) over his past 31 games. However, he said that the story is not even remotely true.

“I don’t know where that came from,” he said. “It’s unbelievable how these things come up without any facts.

“It doesn’t affect me. Sometimes you read about it. You know what’s going on. When you’re on the field, you are focused on the things you have to do. It isn’t a factor.”

Outfielder Jake Smolinski (foot) could return to the lineup Thursday.

First for Lewis

Right-hander Colby Lewis is looking forward to his start Thursday, when he will become part of a group of pitchers who can say that they started games at the old Yankee Stadium and the current ballpark across the street.

The new Yankee Stadium opened in 2009, when Lewis was in Japan. He rejoined the Rangers in 2010, and beat the Yankees twice in Arlington in the American League Championship Series.

“I’m looking forward to it, to say I pitched in both the old Yankee Stadium and the new one,” said Lewis, who allowed two runs in five innings Saturday at Toronto. “I felt like I located the ball and worked out of some jams. I’d like to go a little deeper in games.”

It will be Lewis’ first start in the Bronx since allowing six runs in 4 2/3 innings Aug. 5, 2003. He was opposed by Roger Clemens.

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