The dreaded hamstring tightness struck yet another Texas Rangers outfielder in Thursday’s series finale against the Royals, this time in the person of Endy Chavez, forcing the Rangers to use Andres Blanco in right field, a utility infielder who had never played the outfield in 10 years of professional baseball.
This brings to three the number of outfielders currently on the shelf due to hamstrings– Chavez, Julio Borbon and Nelson Cruz. Cruz was supposed to be back Friday for the series with the Phillies. Just yesterday, though, the Rangers announced he would play three weekend games at AAA Round Rock this weekend because his swing still wasn’t where they’d like it to be. Certainly, one would want Cruz to be successful hitting, but now they may have to bring him back for the Phillies series just because, of all the hamstrings available, his are in the best shape, relatively speaking. Josh Hamilton is the only outfielder on the DL without a hamstring problem, but with a nickname of “Hambone”, he qualifies as an honorary member of the hamstring brigade.
Meanwhile, Neftali Feliz who, it was pointed out here on my last post, just is not looking right on the mound. For the second consecutive night, he blew a save. The defending AL Rookie of the Year with the blazing fastball has not been inducing too many swings and misses the last two games. Thursday night, his pitch count got into the 30’s before Ron Washington pulled him with the bases loaded. Mark Lowe got him out of the jam, but the ensuing Rangers relievers gave up the walk-off hit in the bottom of the 10th to hand KC the win. Such a shame.
Derek Holland pitched a whale of a game to have it come to naught. Plenty of blame to the Texas offense as well, for mustering a measly six hits and plating their only run on a Chris Davis 2nd inning solo shot. Texas only managed mutliple base runners in one inning the entire game.
Had they won the game, Texas would be heading into Philadelphia tonight needing only one win on the weekend to secure a winning road trip. To do it now will require winning two of three while facing Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee and Roy Oswalt, a daunting task especially considering the current offensive woes.
As to the outfield alignment for Friday’s opener? For all I know, third string catcher Taylor Teagarden could find himself out there if the Rangers think his hammy can take it.