Jeff Banister has heard about the fans’ handwringing over his decision to rest closer Sam Dyson during Friday’s loss to the Red Sox.
He tried clarifying his reasoning again before Saturday’s game after a question on the topic arose concerning Dyson’s previous appearances entering a game with a large lead.
“Let’s revisit that a little bit since that’s been the topic du jour,” he said.
Since assuming the closer role May 17, Dyson has started the ninth with a lead of four runs or more six times. The last time was June 14 in Oakland when he closed a 10-6 win.
The other five outings with a four-run or larger lead came in five consecutive appearances from May 25 to June 3. Since then, he’s only been used once in a non-save situation.
Banister said his approach early with Dyson as the closer was to put an end hopefully to a string of blown games that preceded Shawn Tolleson’s losing the closer job.
It’s Banister’s contention that if he hadn’t used Dyson as frequently as he did “we wouldn’t be where we are right now.”
“All those situations came when we made the transition,” Banister said. “And at a time when we had blown nine leads, and we weren’t going in the right direction prior to that occurring. We weren’t where we are right now. It was necessary to get this momentum going in the right direction. I made a decision that I wasn’t willing to let any of those leads get away.”
Now, with a big lead in the AL West, Banister inferred, it’s appropriate to give Dyson some rest when possible.
“Now it’s a point where we need to back away from the flame a little bit,” he said. “If not, we’re staring at 80 innings at the end of the year. We don’t want that.”
Dyson has already pitched 37 1/3 innings, including 11 2/3 in June.
“Sam can’t be the only guy out there. [Jake] Diekman can’t be the only guy out there. Matt Bush can’t be the only guy out there,” Banister said. “We’ve got to be able to close those games out, too, when Sam is not available to us.”
Diekman, who started the ninth Friday and was charged with two runs and replaced by Bush, was not available Saturday and perhaps won’t be Sunday.
The left-hander has thrown 53 pitches in his last two appearances, including 28 Friday. He walked the lead-off batter and then threw 11 pitches to pinch hitter Sandy Leon before surrendering a double.
“Once you get past that 19-pitch mark there’s not too many good things that happen, and we threw 11 of them to one guy,” Banister said.
Diekman has thrown 28 1/3 innings, including nine in June.
Darvish, Kela bullpens
Right-hander Yu Darvish will throw his first bullpen session Sunday since going on on the disabled list June 9 with right shoulder discomfort. He’s scheduled to throw 30-35 pitches. Darvish is scheduled to throw a simulated game in New York this week.
Right-hander Keone Kela is also scheduled to throw a bullpen session Sunday. He said he felt great after throwing a 20-pitch bullpen Friday. Kela is scheduled to throw a 20- to 25-pitch live batting practice in New York on Wednesday.
“I’m hitting my spots, I added a two-seam [fastball],” Kela said. “My curveball is still sharp, I’m throwing it for strikes and as an out pitch. And I’m in-and-out with my fastball. I’m very excited.”
Kela, who has been on the DL since April 20 with bone spurs in his right elbow, is likely to spend a week on a rehab assignment in the minors once he’s cleared later this week.
Big Papi tribute
The Rangers saluted the Red Sox’s David Ortiz with a pregame ceremony Saturday. Adrian Beltre and Elvis Andrus presented Ortiz with a custom-made belt buckle and a pair of black Lucchese boots with “Big” and “Papi” stitched on either boot.