ANAHEIM -- Michael Young was back in the Rangers' lineup on Thursday, one day after being removed for a pinch-runner in the ninth inning of a 9-8 loss to the Angels.On Thursday, the Rangers were describing Young's condition as a tight hamstring muscle near his right knee. He has been dealing with it at times during the season and felt it on a fifth-inning double. He remained in the game for two more plate appearances and doubled with two outs in the ninth. But with the Rangers down one run, manager Ron Washington decided to use Craig Gentry as a pinch-runner. "I was being cautionary," Washington said. "We needed to score that run and I certainly didn't want him laboring. He has been dealing with the hamstring all year and it tightens up now and then." Young said he was fine and ready to go on Thursday. "If I was hurt I wouldn't have taken that at-bat," he said.
Tateyama could emerge as key cog in bullpen
ANAHEIM -- The Rangers are still looking for relief pitching and they have scouts keeping track of the Padres' Heath Bell and Mike Adams. The Padres were playing the Marlins this week so that allowed them to watch Florida reliever Leo Nunez as well.But nothing seems to be imminent, and if the Rangers do have to go with what they have, Yoshinori Tateyama continues to show that he could play an instrumental role in the bullpen. After not pitching for weeks, he took the mound on Wednesday night and pitched two scoreless innings while striking out three. He has a 3.12 ERA in his last nine outings, allowing seven hits and two walks while striking out 11 in 8 2/3 innings.
"I love his personality," bullpen coach Andy Hawkins said. "He's a great guy and he has a great sense of humor. He's also smart. He's adapting the way he has been pitching his entire career [in Japan] to here in the big leagues and doing an exceptional job. He makes quality pitches and reads hitters. He has good pitching instincts."The Rangers' desire at the Trade Deadline seems to be acquiring a power right-handed arm to go with Mark Lowe in the setup role. Tateyama is not a power arm. His fastball averages 87 mph, the lowest of any pitcher on the staff. But his 8.6 strikeouts per nine innings is the second highest behind Lowe, who is at 8.7. He also has 20 strikeouts to just two walks.
Hamilton testing new shades for day games
ANAHEIM -- Rangers outfielder Josh Hamilton has new sunglasses that he has been trying the past couple of days during batting practice. He has new eye drops that have helped in his last couple of day games.Hamilton keeps searching for ways to help cope with the bright sunshine of day games. He went into Thursday's game hitting .117 in day games. "The new sunglasses ... the lenses are so much clearer," Hamilton said. "The eye drops seemed to have helped, too. Last two games they have really helped relax my eyes. I'm not looking for results ... the results will come. I'm just looking for quality at-bats." After Thursday, the Rangers play eight straight night games, including seven at home.
Pitching, defense fueled Rangers' win streak
ANAHEIM -- The Rangers' 12-game winning streak ended on Wednesday and they fell two short of the club record set in 1991. But a comparison of the two streaks shows how much the Rangers have changed in the past few years.The 1991 streak was all offense. The Rangers hit .348 during the streak with a .542 slugging percentage and averaged 8.1 runs per game. Their pitchers had a modest 3.31 ERA, but their starters had a 4.00 ERA and were averaging 5 1/3 innings per start. There were no complete games and only three times did the starters manage at least seven innings. They were killing the bullpen, especially their best two setup relievers. Mike Jeffcoat pitched 10 innings over eight appearances and Rich Gossage pitched nine innings over seven appearances. They were never as effective the rest of the season. Starter Bobby Witt went down with a torn rotator cuff during the streak, and that hurt the Rangers much worse than anything. During this year's 12-game streak, the Rangers hit. They had a .321 batting average, a .549 slugging percentage and averaged 6.4 runs per game. Their pitching was lights out, to. During the streak the Rangers had a 1.92 ERA while holding opponents to a .190 batting average. They struck out 92 and walked 26 in 108 innings. Manager Ron Washington was most impressed with his defense. They committed just three errors in 12 games and allowed just one unearned run. The Rangers committed 10 errors during the 14-game winning streak in '91. "That's what it's going to have to take the rest of the way," Washington said. "We have to pitch well and we certainly have to play good defense. Our offense is going to put up runs, but we win when we catch the ball and get the outs we need and our pitching keeps us in the game."
Michael Young has 15 three-hit games this season, second most in the Major Leagues. The Rangers announced that they will honor former Ranger and new Hall of Famer Bert Blyleven prior to the game with the Twins on Wednesday. Blyleven, who is a television broadcaster for Minnesota, will be inducted into the Hall of Fame with Roberto Alomar and Pat Gillick on Sunday in Cooperstown.
On Friday night, the Texas Rangers Wives will be holding a silent auction featuring 38 gift baskets from Nolan Ryan, Ron Washington, players and coaches on the 2011 club. The baskets will be displayed inside the Home Plate Gate entrance and bidding will go from 4:30-8 p.m. CT. All proceeds from the gift basket auction will go to the Texas Rangers Baseball Foundation Memorial Account in honor of Shannon Stone.
The throwing error by Elvis Andrus in the ninth inning on Wednesday night was the first by a Rangers infielder since July 1. The Rangers' Class A team in Myrtle Beach had a six-game winning streak snapped on Wednesday night. Right-handed pitcher Brandon Woodruff, the Rangers' fifth-round pick from Wheeler (Miss.) High School, told the Jackson Clarion-Ledger that he is attending Mississippi State. He is currently the highest unsigned player taken by the Rangers in the June First-Year Player Draft.
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.