BOSTON -- The train is coming – even if it’s a slow-moving one.
With Colby Lewis and Matt Harrison still on the mend, Texas Rangers manager Ron Washington said Tuesday he's trying to to keep the ship afloat in the early going while hoping the starting staff he envisioned during spring training might soon come to being.
Lewis will throw a bullpen at Triple-A Round Rock on Wednesday and Washington maintained it’s the team’s intent to bring the 34-year told back to the major league club at some point during the week.
“Our intention is to bring him into Texas, and we’ll see how it goes,” Washington said before Game 2 of the Rangers’ series with the Boston Red Sox.
For now, Washington said the plan is have Yu Darvish start Friday against Houston, but Saturday’s probable starter remained a mystery. With Joe Saunders going on the disabled list Monday (retroactive to April 5), the possibility remains open for Lewis to return to the team at the end of the week.
Lewis has not pitched in a major league game since 2012 while recovering from elbow and hip injuries.
Meanwhile, Harrison completed 4 2/3 innings while throwing 62 pitches in Double-A Frisco.
Replay debate: During Monday night’s loss to the Red Sox, Washington unsuccessfully challenged a safe call by second base umpire Jordan Baker, asserting shortstop Elvis Andrus was in control of the ball during a force play.
Upon follow-up on Tuesday, Washington mused that he’ll place a suggestion in Major League Baseball’s comments and concerns box due to the umpire’s instruction to first call runners safe in such situations.
While snatching the ball, Andrus dropped the ball straight down after transferring to his throwing hand with Daniel Nava bearing down on the bag. Had Andrus dropped the ball behind his plant foot, perhaps the burden of proof would have headed in the other direction. But, things being what they are, Washington suffered his first instant replay loss and headed to the dutout dejected.
The Rangers emerged no worse for the wear, as Mike Napoli followed by grounding into a double play, yet Washington believes it’s an example of an area MLB officials can fine-tune in the new system.
“It was clearly an out; it’s not like he was bobbling it around,” Washington said. “The guy who gets the advantage on that is the guy that’s running down to first base because he can’t get doubled up, so the inning continues.”
That doesn’t mean the game has changed, however.
“I’m not going to suggest anything,” Washington said when asked if he’ll instruct his players any differently. “You keep playing baseball the way that it’s played. You can’t have [Andrus] trying to play instinctively and thinking at the same time.”
Notes: Saunders was in the Rangers clubhouse before Tuesday night’s game, walking with a bandage wrap on his ailing left ankle.
“He’s getting better,” Washington said. “The big thing will be when he can start changing directions on that ankle, then we’ll know he’s heading in the right direction. He can get on the mound and deliver the ball, but it’s (not) anything beyond that.”