Texas Rangers

Rangers send struggling Wilhelmsen to Triple A

Rangers reliever Tom Wilhelmsen was sent packing to Triple A Round Rock after two weekend outings in which he allowed six runs in 1 1/3 innings to push his ERA to 9.98.
Rangers reliever Tom Wilhelmsen was sent packing to Triple A Round Rock after two weekend outings in which he allowed six runs in 1 1/3 innings to push his ERA to 9.98. mfaulkner@star-telegram.com

Struggling right-hander Tom Wilhelmsen was optioned to Triple A Round Rock on Monday after two weekend outings in which he allowed six runs in 1  1/3 innings to push his ERA to 9.98.

The Rangers recalled righty Luke Jackson from Round Rock and gave no timeline for Wilhelmsen’s return. He was optioned to Triple A last season after struggling early for the Seattle Mariners and returned to eventually become their closer in late August.

Manager Jeff Banister said that one sign that Wilhelmsen isn’t close to solving his woes is a lack of strikeouts. Banister said that the fastball-breaking ball combination that has made Wilhelmsen successful in the past isn’t clicking.

“We look at it as what’s going on right now in the moment and a need and also a need for him to go sharpen himself up,” Banister said. “Our bullpen has carried a pretty sizable load late, so having a fresher arm [helps].”

A small fracture was detected during spring training in Jackson’s lower back, an injury that prevented him from competing for a roster spot. But he’s healthy now, pitching as long as 2  2/3 innings for Triple A Round Rock.

He said that the downtime, as well as the time he spent in the Dominican Republic in winter ball, helped him refine a slider that he said will help him avoid inefficient 25- to 30-pitch innings.

“That was the fix,” Jackson said. “I’m ready to rock and roll.”

Shawn Tolleson remains the closer, Banister said, even though Sam Dyson was used to save Sunday’s win. Dyson pitched the ninth for a second straight Sunday in a day game after a high pitch total for Tolleson the night before, not because Tolleson blew a 5-2 lead in an eventual 6-5 victory in 10 innings.

Rangers reliever Tom Wilhelmsen said pitches left up in the zone to Blue Jays sluggers Edwin Encarnacion and Troy Tulowitzki led to two homers (Video by Stefan Stevenson/Star-Telegram).

Beltre slighted?

Among the many things said by Toronto Blue Jays right fielder Jose Bautista after Sunday’s brawl with Rougned Odor was a shot he fired about the Texas Rangers having lack of leadership.

“It shows, at least the apparent lack of leadership that they have over there when it comes to playing baseball the right way,” Bautista said. “Baseball players are supposed to be taken care of with baseball plays. I thought it was pretty cowardly of them to wait until my last at-bat to do that in the whole series. They could have come out and done it, if they wanted to send a message. Again, it shows a little bit more of their colors.”

Manager Jeff Banister said that the Rangers are looking at ways to fill in for Rougned Odor after he is suspended (video by Jeff Wilson).

While he didn’t identify any players or mention if he was talking about Banister and his coaching staff, many observers believe that Bautista was talking about the players, including third baseman Adrian Beltre.

It was Beltre, the 19-year veteran, who was holding back/up his fellow Dominican after Odor’s punch land squarely on Bautista’s jaw. While the melee sorted itself out, Beltre held onto Bautista until his teammates came to guide him to the dugout.

Beltre didn’t have much to say Monday about Bautista’s accusation.

“That’s yesterday’s news,” Beltre said. “We don’t have to prove that to anybody. That’s somebody’s opinion.”

Briefly

▪ Right fielder Shin-Soo Choo, on rehab assignment with Triple A Round Rock after a right calf strain April 9, had a scheduled night off after playing five straight days at extended spring training and then Sunday with Round Rock. His lone hit in four at-bats was a three-run homer.

▪ Catcher Robinson Chirinos continues to make progress in his return from a broken right ulna. He made his first road trip since the April 9 injury and took his first swings, albeit with a fungo bat, on Monday. Chirinos, on the 60-day disabled list, expects to begin using a regular bat next week.

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