Texas Rangers

TCU sits starter Howard after arm soreness, and Traver gets closer to pitching

TCU pitcher Brian Howard, shown in a 2015 game against Oklahoma State, missed his start last week at Kansas because of arm soreness. He leads the Horned Frogs in strikeouts and innings pitched.
TCU pitcher Brian Howard, shown in a 2015 game against Oklahoma State, missed his start last week at Kansas because of arm soreness. He leads the Horned Frogs in strikeouts and innings pitched. Star-Telegram

TCU right-hander Brian Howard was scheduled to see a doctor for a sore triceps muscle after soreness last week caused him to miss a start at Kansas.

Howard (4-1, 3.27 ERA) has been the most consistent starter for the Horned Frogs this season, but he went only 3.0 innings in his last start, his shortest of the season, giving up five runs on six hits at Wichita State.

He has pitched 41  1/3 innings in seven starts. He pitched a career-high 49 innings last season in four starts and 13 relief appearances.

“He had a really good bullpen Thursday but was more sore than normal when he got up Friday morning, so we just decided to shut him down for the weekend,” coach Jim Schlossnagle said. “He’s going to see the doctor. We’ll know more. I don’t think it’s anything serious.”

Everybody in the country is dealing with some sort of issue, normally, but without Traver and without Howard, that really stresses us out.

TCU coach Jim Schlossnagle

Dalton Horton moved up a day and started in Howard’s place on Saturday and went 7 innings in an 8-0 victory. On Sunday, Schlossnagle used four pitchers to finish a 14-6 win and complete a series victory.

“Everybody in the country is dealing with some sort of issue, normally, but without [Mitchell] Traver and without Howard, that really stresses us out,” Schlossnagle said. “Horton giving us those innings on Saturday was big.”

Horton on Monday was selected the Big 12 Pitcher of the Week, the third such honor for TCU this season.

Traver update

Right-hander Mitchell Traver threw off a mound for the first time Saturday, pitching at 55 feet, and was expected to throw off the mound at the full distance Monday.

“If he can continue to progress, who knows — maybe in a couple of weeks we’ll have him out there,” Schlossnagle said.

Traver has not pitched this season because of a muscle strain in his back. He is TCU’s most experienced pitcher and was expected to be the No. 1 weekend starter.

He’s definitely itching to get out there, but he’s been through this twice, actually three times,” Schlossnagle said. “So he’s smart enough to know what to do and what not to do. He’s still a guy that has not pitched competitively since a week before the season started. I’m just hoping by the time we get to the last two weeks of the season that he can maybe hit his stride.”

Frustrating loss

Schlossnagle called Friday night’s 4-3 loss to Kansas “one of the more frustrating losses I’ve had in a couple of years.”

He said the Frogs executed their plan against Kansas left-hander Ben Krauth but got no breaks. TCU was 1 for 17 with runners in scoring postiion.

“We had multiple chances to break the game open,” Schlossnagle said. “Their third baseman made two inning-ending diving catches that would have scored probably a combined four runs. Their center fielder did the same thing on a ball that Evan Skoug crushed into the gap. So either that happened, or he made really good pitches against us. His best pitches were with men on base.”

Hill starts

Left-hander Rex Hill will start against Dallas Baptist on Tuesday. He pitched one inning in relief last week against UT Arlington after moving out of the weekend rotation. His last start was March 26 at Texas, when he went 1  2/3 innings, giving up three runs on five hits.

“We still have a lot of confidence in Rex. We need to get him going, get him back on the mound,” Schlossnagle said.

Hill (2-2, 6.23) is second on the team in strikeouts with 36 in 30  1/3 innings.

Hitting streaks

Second baseman Cam Warner had four hits Sunday to extend his hitting streak to 20 games, the longest in five years for TCU. Brance Rivera had a 27-game hitting streak in 2011.

Third baseman Elliott Barzilli, who began the weekend sixth in the nation in batting average, has a 16-game hitting streak.

Carlos Mendez: 817-390-7760, @calexmendez

TCU vs. Dallas Baptist

6:30 p.m. Tuesday, FSSW Plus

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