Tolleson officially given 'closer' title

Tolleson officially given 'closer' title

ARLINGTON -- Rangers manager Jeff Banister let what had become a dirty word slip Tuesday when talking about the defensive substitutions he made late in Monday's 4-1 win against the Dodgers.

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"When you're ahead in that type of situation in your own ballpark," Banister said, "you have the advantage of being ahead and putting the closer out there."

Wait, what was that?

Banister conceded, thus ending the "no roles" bullpen. Shawn Tolleson is officially the Rangers' closer.

"He's closed enough games out for us to be called a closer," Banister said. "I'm comfortable with giving [Tolleson] the closer's position."

It's only a word, but it is a significant one. Since taking over as the "ninth-inning guy," Tolleson is 9-for-9 in save opportunities. In his past 12 appearances, opponents are hitting .204 against Tolleson and have scored only two runs in 13 innings.

Banister, though, said he still doesn't have a traditional setup guy. Tanner Scheppers and Keone Kela have been eighth-inning options in recent games for the Rangers. Scheppers in particular has struggled, having allowed runs in three straight games and seven runs in his past 14 1/3 innings, but Banister said there might not be a need for one true setup man -- at least not for now.

"Again, I don't think you need to settle on any one given pitcher in an inning," Banister said. "Like, 'You're a sixth-inning guy or seventh-inning guy or eighth-inning guy.' We do have a number of pitchers who are capable of pitching from the sixth inning to the end. It now becomes my job to decide who best fits the inning."

Worth noting

Josh Hamilton said he won't make the Rangers' five-game road trip starting Wednesday despite general manager Jon Daniels saying Monday that Hamilton could travel if he were able to take batting practice on the field. That would have put Hamilton -- who went on the disabled list with a strained left hamstring June 1 -- a few days ahead of schedule.

• Outfielder Delino DeShields said he is no longer limping from the strained left hamstring that put him on the disabled list Monday. He also said this is the first significant hamstring injury he has suffered, but added that he'd prefer it "10 times out of 10" to getting hit by a pitch in the face -- as he did last season in the Minors.

Kyle Blanks was in the lineup hitting fourth and playing left field Tuesday against Dodgers' left-hander Brett Anderson. Blanks said the pilonidal cyst that previously sent him to the disabled list is no longer bothering him in baseball activities.

Cody Stavenhagen is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.