Texas keeping eight-man bullpen, three-man bench

Texas keeping eight-man bullpen, three-man bench

KANSAS CITY -- With first baseman Kyle Blanks not ready to come off the disabled list, the Rangers are staying with an eight-man bullpen and just three players on the bench.

Texas adjusted its bullpen on Sunday by putting Ross Ohlendorf on the disabled list and calling up right-hander Spencer Patton. The Rangers' bench right now consists of backup catcher Carlos Corporan, infielder Adam Rosales and outfielder Jake Smolinski.

"With the exception of our last two starts, our average start has been just a tick above five innings," manager Jeff Banister said. "When you start calculating the years of experience in our bullpen, you don't get very high, so we are really protecting ourselves and finding the right mix of guys in the bullpen. We're not getting to the point where we are overtaxed and the usage is too high. An eight-man bullpen gives us extra arms to limit back to back outings.

"I can't say it is a permanent arrangement, but one right now we feel is necessary when you look at our schedule and where we are at."

Blanks is on the disabled list because of a Pilonidal cyst. He has been working out with the Rangers and taking batting practice, but he is not quite ready to come off the disabled list. Ryan Rua is another option, but he missed almost two months with a fracture in his right heel and has played just three games on medical rehab assignment.

Texas also did not consider activating right-hander Neftali Feliz, even though he was eligible to come off the disabled list on Thursday. He pitched one inning on his rehab assignment Saturday night for Triple-A Round Rock and allowed one unearned run on a hit, a walk and a strikeout. Feliz threw 24 pitches.

Instead, the Rangers called up Patton, who had a 0.53 ERA at Round Rock and had held opponents to a .175 batting average. He had not allowed a run in his last 8 2/3 innings over nine appearances. Adding a curveball to his repertoire helped.

Patton earns the win

"I was just trying to pound the strike zone more and be low in the strike zone," Patton said.

Ohlendorf has been bothered by a strained right groin since Spring Training. He had to start the season on the disabled list and wasn't added to the bullpen until May 17. Now he is down again with the same injury.

"This isn't that bad," Ohlendorf said. "It is bad enough that I didn't want to have a relapse like I did in Spring Training. It is much less severe than in Spring Training. It felt really good, and then just popped up again. I just felt like it was a bad idea to push through it."

Ohlendorf is eligible to come off the disabled list on June 19.

T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields, follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.