Scheppers looks to break out of funk

Scheppers looks to break out of funk

ANAHEIM -- Tanner Scheppers, having allowed runs in three of five outings since being activated off the disabled list, spent Sunday morning looking at video with pitching coach Mike Maddux.

The Rangers expected Scheppers to be their eighth-inning setup reliever the way he was in 2013. Instead he has an 11.25 ERA, opponents are 6-for-18 off him and he has walked four batters in four innings.

"I know I have to make adjustments," said Scheppers, who was the Rangers' Opening Day starter last year before an elbow strain cost him most of the season. "I'm beating myself up. The free bags are catching up to me. I need to trust myself and throw the ball over the plate."

Scheppers pitched the seventh inning on Saturday night. The Rangers trailed 3-1 at the time and Scheppers retired the first two hitters. But then he gave up singles to Grant Green and Kole Calhoun, hit Mike Trout and walked Albert Pujols on four pitches. Anthony Bass had to take over.

Scheppers had an abbreviated Spring Training because of physical issues and started the season on the disabled list because of a sprained right ankle.

"I would be lying to you if I said I was exactly where I want to be," Scheppers said. "I'm not. It is about making adjustments. I understand I need to come in and get outs."

Rangers manager Jeff Banister is planning to use Scheppers earlier in the game and save the eighth for Shawn Tolleson. That could change once Scheppers gets straightened out.

"I still believe in Tanner and who he is," Banister said. "The guy is coming off a year where he was a starter, got hurt and then put into the bullpen. We'll continue to look at it and get him on a roll."

Worth noting:

• The Rangers have used 18 different lineups in the first 18 games and Banister said, "We're still trying to find the right rhythm and looking for guys to spark. Until guys spark, we've got to find a way to produce offense. I don't know if staying status quo when you haven't produced offense consistently is the optimum thing to do."

• Banister had a "conversation" with Leonys Martin after he got picked off at second base in third inning by catcher Drew Butera. Martin got back to the bag safely, but then fell off and was tagged out. Said Banister, "Those things can't happen if you're going to be an elite organization. Those are the things we need to continue to work on and clear up and not have them a part of the game."

• Reliever Kyuji Fujikawa, who began the season on the disabled list with tightness in his right groin, threw 10 pitches over one-third of an inning for Triple-A Round Rock on Saturday. It was his fifth rehab assignment. He will be re-evaluated Monday in Arlington.

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.