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04/08/10 10:01 PM ET

Big pitching buzz for Mariners, Rangers

By Doug Miller/MLB.com

One starter earned a role in his team's rotation after a spring spent proving himself. The other did it pitching on the other side of the world.

And when Jason Vargas and the Mariners visit Colby Lewis and the Rangers in the opener of a three-game series at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington on Friday evening, both pitchers will be tasked with helping their teams rebound from season-opening series losses.

Left-hander Vargas, 27, enters his season debut after a spring in which he solidified his role in the Seattle rotation by putting up a 3.04 Cactus League ERA. Vargas went 3-6 with a 4.91 ERA in 14 starts for Seattle last year.

"I think he's in better shape," Mariners manager Don Wakamatsu said. "He battled back last year from hip surgery and now I think he's stronger and more athletic. But I thought he was more refined in Spring Training, had better angle [on his pitches]. I thought he had more on his fastball, even."

The Rangers obviously believe Lewis has a lot, too. The right-hander, once a top Rangers prospect, bounced around the AL before regaining his stuff during a two-year stint in Japan. Texas liked what its scouts saw so much that it signed him to a two-year deal. And now he's back in Texas in the rotation and ready to go for 2010.

"For me it's not a big transition," Lewis said of moving from Japan back to the Majors. "Throwing strikes is throwing strikes, no matter who is in the batter's box. You've still got to get him out whether it's Albert Pujols or a Japanese guy. You still have to make pitches and get people out."

Mariners: Colome up, Langerhans DFA'd
The Mariners upped their bullpen count to 12 pitchers Thursday when they promoted right-handed reliever Jesus Colome from Triple-A Tacoma and designated for assignment outfielder Ryan Langerhans. Colome got immediate work, too, flashing a fastball that hit 96 mph in three innings. Colome gave up two runs and struck out four in the Mariners' 6-2 loss to the A's. ... Vargas is making fifth career appearance and third start vs. Texas (all career appearances are from 2009). He is 0-1 with a 5.27 ERA vs. the Rangers.

Rangers: Madrigal on 60-day DL
The Rangers transferred righty reliever Warner Madrigal from the 15-day disabled list to the 60-day DL to make roster space for catcher Matt Treanor, who was called up from Triple-A Oklahoma City to replace starter Jarrod Saltalamacchia, who's on the 15-day DL with stiffness in his upper left back and shoulder. ... It's been a while, but Lewis has experience against Seattle. The righty is 2-2 with a 5.27 ERA in 10 career games (six starts) against the Mariners.

Worth noting
Mariners utility man Matt Tuiasosopo has been informed by Wakamatsu that he will be the team's part-time emergency catcher. "I have done some catching in the bullpen, and Wak actually mentioned it to me late in the season last year. When I was in Puerto Rico playing winter ball, I would go down to the bullpen and catch the pitchers." ... Rangers pitcher Rich Harden made a bit of club history in his first start for Texas, striking out eight batters and walking five over 3 2/3 innings. He is just the second Rangers pitcher in the past 14 seasons to walk at least five and strike out eight, joining John Thomson, who accomplished the feat, albeit in a complete game, on May 18, 2003 in New York.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


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