ARLINGTON -- The Rangers are going to take a look at right-handed pitcher Tommy Hunter in the bullpen. He will pitch one inning for Triple-A Round Rock on Wednesday and continue to be used out of the bullpen for the immediate future while on medical rehabilitation assignment."Effectively, we want to see how he will respond to a reliever's role," Rangers assistant general manager Thad Levine said. "We want to see if there is another means for him to contribute to a big league club and just see how he performs and responds to being a reliever." Hunter may have to be used as a reliever when he is ready to come off the disabled list because the Rangers appear to have a set rotation with C.J. Wilson, Colby Lewis, Matt Harrison, Alexi Ogando and Derek Holland. "We're just making plans and seeing what he can do," Rangers manager Ron Washington said. Hunter, who has been on the disabled list since the end of Spring Training with a strained right groin muscle, has made just one relief appearance, as opposed to 44 starts, at the Major League level the past three years. He has also made just 14 relief appearances against 42 starts prior to this season at the Minor League level. But he was used both as a starter and a reliever at the University of Alabama before being drafted by the Rangers in 2007. The Rangers have been looking at multiple options to reinforce their bullpen and are still hoping to get Darren O'Day back soon. He makes a second rehab appearance on Wednesday and will also be pitching for Round Rock in New Orleans. His next big hurdle will be showing the Rangers that he can pitch back-to-back games. He has been sidelined for two months with a torn labrum in his left hip.
Young starts at third base on rough infield
ARLINGTON -- Rangers veteran Michael Young is making his first start at third base on Wednesday night against the Astros. Manager Ron Washington wanted to give Adrian Beltre a day off and is using him at designated hitter.Chris Davis, who is back at Triple-A Round Rock, started previously in three games that Beltre did not. Young was the Rangers' regular third baseman the past two seasons before moving into a utility role this year. Young will be dealing with a new infield. The Rangers' grounds crew put in new turf before this homestand and there have been some comments that it has created some tough hops. "The new infield we put in is dodgy at best," pitcher C.J. Wilson said after Tuesday's game. "The grass is just like a putt-putt course out there, so the infielders had their hands full trying to field, and you saw that tonight with the ball bouncing all over the place." Young was asked about it before Wednesday's game. "It takes a while [to get used to the new grass]," Young said. "They do it two times a season, so it's tough. Not just for us, but for the other team. You see people getting tricky hops all the time here once they put the new infield in. I'm going to get some work in and hopefully get used to it." Washington made it clear the condition of the infield shouldn't matter. "That's a concern if you're in the Minor Leagues," Washington said. "We're in the big leagues."
Washington mulls All-Star selections
ARLINGTON -- Rangers manager Ron Washington said he is spending time every day mulling the makeup of the American League All-Star team. Washington, as the AL skipper, is responsible for selecting seven of 34 players on the team.The fans' vote will determine nine starters. The players will vote nine reserves and eight pitchers: five starters and three relievers. Washington will choose seven and the last player will be selected by the online Final Vote. Washington has three things to consider. Foremost, he will have to make sure all 14 AL teams are represented. Secondly, he will have to make sure he has enough pitching, Finally, he will look to see if the team has any unfulfilled needs. He may look at the Rangers to fill those needs. "If I have a need and I've got it on this team ..." Washington said. "I work on it and look at it every day."
The Rangers are off on Thursday and again on Monday. They will not use that quirk in the schedule to alter their starting rotation. Manager Ron Washington said the preference is to give all their starters extra rest. That means C.J. Wilson will make his next start on six days' rest. Second baseman Ian Kinsler turned 29 Wednesday. Mike Napoli (strained oblique muscle) is hoping to begin taking batting practice in a cage on Friday. If that goes well through the weekend, he could be looking at a medical rehabilitation assignment at some point next week. He continues to report improvement in his rib cage.
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields, and follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.