Texas Rangers

Rangers’ A.J. Griffin to make third start since return

A.J. Griffin pleased with outing vs. Yankees

Rangers right-hander A.J. Griffin allowed on run in five innings Thursday and said that he was much better than he was Saturday in his first start off the DL (video by Jeff Wilson).
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Rangers right-hander A.J. Griffin allowed on run in five innings Thursday and said that he was much better than he was Saturday in his first start off the DL (video by Jeff Wilson).

A.J. Griffin makes his third start Tuesday since coming off the disabled list. Griffin, who went 4  1/3 innings against the Boston Red Sox in his first start back on June 25, is feeling much closer to the pitcher who went 3-0 with a 2.94 ERA in his first six starts.

You just try to combat them and keep them off balance and do your best to induce weak contact and get ahead of batters.

A.J. Griffin

“I feel like I can go out there and pitch my game now, more than I was when I was out on rehab assignment,” he said. “I like where I’m at right now. I feel like I can execute my pitches the way I want to and I’m not really fighting myself and my delivery.”

That’s good, because the Rangers could use a solid, innings-eating start. Rangers starters have failed to get past 4  1/3 innings the past three games. Griffin has gone 4  1/3 and five innings in his two starts since the DL. He struck out eight and held the New York Yankees to one run on two hits in five innings on Saturday.

Rangers right-hander A.J. Griffin, who starts Tuesday's game against the Red Sox, says his execution has improved over past two starts (Video by Stefan Stevenson/Star-Telegram).

He’ll try to mix up his pitch selection with the Red Sox seeing him so recently.

“I don’t know if it necessarily changes the approach, you just try to throw strikes,” Griffin said. “They do have a good lineup but you just try to combat them and keep them off balance and do your best to induce weak contact and get ahead of batters.”

Rangers manager Jeff Banister said the struggles of the starting pitching of late has been a challenge for his club (Video by Stefan Stevenson/Star-Telegram).

Darvish’s rehab

Yu Darvish threw 42 pitches in two-plus innings in a rehab start for Double A Frisco on Monday night against Northwest Arkansas in Springdale, Ark. Darvish allowed three runs (two earned) on two hits and three walks. The third walk was to the leadoff hitter in the third inning before he was taken out of the game.

He struck out five of the 11 batters he faced. One of the hits was a bloop double in left field.

Traveling in style

The Rangers were in the Fourth of July spirit for their flight from Minnesota to Boston. Boy, were they ever.

The entire team, including coaches, trainers and other staff, wore matching blue blazers with white stars, red pants and red-and-white striped ties.

The patriotic ensemble is sold by shinesty.com. Manager Jeff Banister had the idea and started looking for a company that sold American flag inspired suits more than a month ago.

“I was thinking how cool that would be. And we found a company that was able to get us all special patriotic suits,” Banister said.

“I thought it was great. It looked good in the picture. The guys seemed to have fun with it. What better place to come to? When I looked up where we were going for July 4, I’m like, it’s a perfect storm. Suit up and come have fun in Boston.”

The Rangers are wearing The Merican Gentleman American Flag Dress Suit. Yes, that’s Merican, without the A. So these are stitched together with a wink.

“We might have needed that after the last series we had,” said Griffin, who was impressed with the quality in the $70 suit. “We’re excited to be here on the Fourth of July and coming to play, in my opinion, America’s best game.”

The Shinesty website proudly claims the company was created “for one reason and one reason only: To bring you the most outlandish collection of clothing the world has ever seen.”

It’s off to a good start.

Happy Fourth of July, ’Merica.

Briefly

▪ Mitch Moreland (right calf tightness) is likely to play Wednesday, Banister said. He’s available to pinch-hit, but the club hopes keeping him off the field for three games (including Sunday in Minnesota) will relieve the soreness.

“We’ll give Mitch an opportunity to get the treatment and not push it and see if we can’t get him back on the field,” Banister said.

▪ Right-hander Chi Chi Gonzalez will start Thursday, Banister confirmed.

Stefan Stevenson: 817-390-7760, @StevensonFWST

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