ARLLINGTON, Texas – Alex Claudio was going through his normal routine Wednesday night when he got the news.
He had been promoted from Triple-A Round Rock and needed to get up I-35 quick for the Texas Rangers' game against the Rays.
Claudio, a 22-year old left-handed reliever from Puerto Rico, doesn’t have an American driver’s license.
“When I was there, it was after BP (and) I was going to the hot and cold tub,” Claudio said through an interpreter. “But they called me to the office and asked me, ‘Do you have a car?' And I don’t have a car. So what happened? they brought me here.”
Claudio got the call because Yu Darvish was placed on the 15-day disabled list with elbow inflammation and the Rangers needed a reliever for Wednesday night’s game.
Good thing someone had time at Round Rock -- about a two-and-half hour drive to Arlington -- to drive him, because manager Ron Washington needed him.
Claudio came in in the eighth inning of the 10-1 loss to the Rays, recorded his first strikeout and retired all three batters he faced.
Washington knew about Claudio, having met him at spring training in Surprise, Ariz., but he had to get re-introduced to him.
“I met him when he walked up on the mound,” a grinning Washington said of Claudio, who arrived at the ballpark nearly an hour after the game started.
Claudio was named the Rangers’ 2013 minor league reliever of the year after compiling a 2.05 ERA and a 0.979 WHIP. This season in 27 games at Myrtle Beach (High-A), Frisco (AA) and Round Rock, Claudio has continued to pitch well. He’s 6-3 with a 1.66 ERA with four saves over 27 games. Opponents are hitting just .244 against him this season.
Big-league hitters were blanked against him after one night, and there’s hope he can continue the solid pitching.
“Claudio did a heck of a job, didn’t he?” Washington said. “He came in and threw strikes. Threw that changeup there and got us three quick outs.”
Notes: Rookie left-hander Phil Klein hasn’t pitched the last two games despite tossing two scoreless innings in his previous two outings. Washington said Klein was warming up to enter games the last two nights but the Rangers elected not to bring him in. Washington said Klein is available if necessary for Thursday’s game. … Geovany Soto was given Wednesday off after catching all 14 innings Tuesday. Soto is expected to catch Robbie Ross for Thursday’s series finale against Tampa. … SS Elvis Andrus has reached base in 17 of the last 19 games (.338). … Leonys Martin has five hits in his last nine plate appearances.