ARLINGTON -- The Rangers' bullpen has been a strength all season, but injuries have taken a toll. The latest was when Koji Uehara went down with a strained muscle under his right armpit. He could be sidelined for 2-3 weeks."I don't think it's that severe," Uehara said. "But the MRI showed a tear -- a minor, minor tear. Until that heals, I don't know." The Rangers are already without Alexi Ogando, who is out for 4-6 weeks with a strained right groin muscle. The bullpen also lost Scott Feldman in mid-May when he had to go into the rotation to replace Neftali Feliz, who is out until mid-July with a sprained right elbow. The Rangers still have closer Joe Nathan and eighth-inning setup reliever Mike Adams. They have Mark Lowe and Yoshinori Tateyama from the right side behind them, and left-handers Robbie Ross and Michael Kirkman. Rookie right-hander Tanner Scheppers is their middle/long reliever. "It's fine, our bullpen is in good shape," Rangers manager Ron Washington said. "We're going to miss Ogando, we're going to miss Feliz and we miss Feldman. But this gives Robbie Ross, Mark Lowe and all those guys a chance to step up. I believe they will." Rangers relievers went into Thursday's game with a combined ERA of 2.78, the fourth lowest in the American League. Now they will see how they do without both Ogando and Uehara. "We lost two key guys in our bullpen," Adams said. "We're not exactly sure how long we're going to miss them. But I definitely understand that my role is going to get kicked up a little bit. I know I'm going to have to be a little more solid than I've been. But those two guys down just open up opportunities for somebody else, and it gives them an opportunity to step up and fill a role and see how they take it.
"I think we have enough depth that we have guys that can step up in those roles and make a name for themselves."
With Cruz back, Gentry sits out vs. righty
ARLINGTON -- Outfielder Nelson Cruz was back in the Rangers' starting lineup on Thursday after being out for three games with the combination of a strained right Achilles and virus. With right-hander Daniel Hudson on the mound for the D-backs, that meant Craig Gentry did not start for the first time in six games.Playing against both left-handers and right-handers, Gentry was 9-for-17 in those five games, including a game-winning hit in the Rangers' 1-0 victory over the D-backs on Wednesday. "He has been good, real good," manager Ron Washington said. "He has taken total advantage of the situation and done a good job offensively, defensively and running the bases. The kid has got some good skill sets." When the Rangers have a completely healthy outfield, Washington has been starting Gentry against left-handers and David Murphy against right-handers. That is still the plan. "Gentry's shown he can hit anybody right now," Washington said. "Still, his role is to play center field against left-handers." Gentry went into Thursday's game hitting .340 on the season, including .377 against lefties and .298 against righties. "I'm just going up there and staying with my approach," Gentry said. "I'm not trying to do too much. I've definitely had some lucky hits in there, but that's part of it. Like I said, I'm just trying to go up there and stay with my approach. "I've felt good at the plate last year, earlier this year for a while. But sometimes it's just a matter of where you hit it. You can hit the ball hard, feel great, but still get outs. Or you can be 5-for-5 with five bloop hits and still feel terrible out at the plate."
Kinsler ejected after arguing strike call
ARLINGTON -- Ian Kinsler was ejected by home-plate umpire Eric Cooper after being called out on strikes during the Rangers' 11-3 loss to the D-backs on Thursday night.Kinsler watched a 1-2 fastball from D-backs starter Daniel Hudson and retreated to the dugout, where he expressed his disagreement with the called strike. Cooper then ejected Kinsler, prompting manager Ron Washington to come out of the dugout. Washington approached Cooper and returned to the dugout shortly afterward. Kinsler declined to comment on the incident after the game. "There's nothing to say," Kinsler said. Kinsler, making his seventh start of the season at designated hitter, was 0-for-3 when he got ejected. He was replaced in the lineup by Alberto Gonzalez, who grounded out to first in his only at-bat. The American League leader in doubles (22) and runs (47), Kinsler is batting .224 over his last 16 games.
Lowe ready to step up in Texas bullpen
ARLINGTON -- The Rangers have used right-handed reliever Mark Lowe in a variety of roles over the past two seasons. This year it has been mainly in middle relief, when they are behind or in mop-up situations.That will likely change now that Alexi Ogando and Koji Uehara are on the disabled list. Lowe could have a chance to take over the seventh-inning setup role. "I just take every outing like I'm in a big game," Lowe said. "I haven't pitched in many close games, but my mindset is I'm in one. You've got to keep rolling, things like this happen the game, it's part of 162 games." Lowe went into Thursday's game with a 3.09 ERA, while opponents are hitting .224 off him.
"I'm throwing a lot of strikes," Lowe said. "I'm attacking and getting ahead of hitters and trying to get out there throwing as few pitches as possible."
The Rangers became the first Major League team to win multiple 1-0 games this season in a victory over the D-backs on Wednesday. Craig Gentry's RBI single in the eighth inning marked the latest the Rangers pulled ahead in a 1-0 win since an 11-inning, walk-off triumph over the Blue Jays in 2000. Double-A Frisco had eight players selected to the Texas League All-Star Game on June 28 in Omaha, Neb. Shortstop Jurickson Profar, third baseman Mike Olt, center fielder Engel Beltre and catcher Zach Zaneski are the four position players that were named to the South Divison All-Star team. Pitchers Chad Bell, Jake Brigham, Barrett Loux and Justin Grimm were selected, as well. Ian Kinsler made his seventh start at designated hitter on Thursday, with Michael Young starting at second base.
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.