It’s no secret the Rangers’ pitching situation at the Major League level has been chaotic. Texas has used 10 rookie pitchers this season. Friday night, Tommy Hunter became the seventh rookie to start a game for the Rangers this season – a club record. To top it off, Andy Hawkins and Jim Colborn were installed to replace pitching coach Mark Connor and bullpen coach Dom Chiti, respectively, at the conclusion of the game Hunter started.
The Texas rotation currently consists of Vicente Padilla, Luis Mendoza, Matt Harrison, Scott Feldman and Hunter. Padilla is the only veteran of the five, let alone proven veteran.
Mendoza entered 2008 with 16 Major League innings under his belt. Harrison began the season at Double-A Frisco and spent some of his time there on the disabled list. Feldman had 89 2/3 innings of Major League experience coming into this season, but had never started a Major League game. He’s actually been one of the most dependable of Texas’ pitchers, but was shut down last month in an attempt to cut down his innings. Injuries to the rotation have dragged him back into the rotation. As for Hunter, he began his trek to the big leagues this season at High-A Bakersfield. At this point last season, Hunter was pitching in his first professional season.
However, there is hope that these resilient youngsters will be relieved of duty soon and be allowed to drop down to their appropriate Minor League affiliates.
Brandon McCarthy, rehabbing a case of severe elbow inflammation, pitched 5 1/3 innings Friday for Triple-A Oklahoma. Although he allowed five runs on six hits and two walks, the most important number was his 89 pitches thrown. Once he’s able to stretch his arm out, then he’ll be able to hone his pitches in preparation of rejoining the Texas rotation.
Last Sunday, McCarthy went 4 1/3 innings, allowing just one run on four hits and three walks while striking out five. He tossed 82 pitches in that outing.
Kiko Calero, who could be an asset in the Rangers bullpen down the road, pitched 1 2/3 scoreless innings in relief of McCarthy on Friday. He allowed one hit and struck out one. However, on July 28, he allowed six runs in 1/3 of an inning, blowing a save opportunity in the process.
Doug Mathis, who is rehabbing a case of shoulder inflammation, is scheduled to throw two innings today in Phoenix. If all goes well, logic would say a rehab assignment would follow.
On July 30, Joaquin Benoit started for Frisco, but pitched only one inning and got out of there. In his inning of work, Benoit struck out two of the batters he faced, throwing 10 of 16 pitches for strikes.
When Benoit departed, Thomas Diamond came in and pitched four innings, allowing four runs on five hits and two walks while striking out four. He threw just 46 of 81 pitches for strikes.
Benoit is rehabbing an inflamed right shoulder and Diamond is recovering from Tommy John elbow reconstruction surgery and pitching with a bone spur in his ankle. Benoit is expected to pitch two innings at Oklahoma today. There was an outside chance that Diamond might reach Arlington this season, but that’s looking less and less likely.
Max Ramirez lands on DL
Max Ramirez was placed on the disabled list after injuring his hip flexor on July 30 with Oklahoma.
Catchers Taylor Teagarden and Emerson Frostad have left the Rangers organization temporarily to join their respective National teams in preparation for the Beijing Olympics. Teagarden, who had been at Oklahoma, will be representing the United States. Frostad, who had been at Frisco, will be representing Canada.
Nelson Cruz Update
Triple-A extraordinaire Nelson Cruz has gone homerless since July 27, when he hit No. 37 for Oklahoma. There were rumors that Cruz might be traded before the non-waiver Trade Dealine, but that didn’t happen. Cruz is batting .344 with 98 RBI after going 2-for-3 with a double on Friday, but he left the game after straining a quad sliding into second base in the fifth inning.
Mayberry welcomes August with a bang
John Mayberry Jr., who hit .158 in the month of July, went 1-for-3 Friday with Oklahoma, belting his 13th home run of the season.
Elvis Andrus, Julio Borbon and Jose Vallejo are up to 43, 44 and 34 stolen bases this season, respectively.
Short, but Feliz
In his last start for Frisco on July 28, Neftali Feliz went just 3 1/3 innings, but a scoreless 3 1/3 innings nonetheless. He allowed just three hits and one walk and struck out four as his ERA shrank to 2.21. He threw 35 of his 57 pitches for strikes.