Rangers shuffle rotation for Astros series

Rangers shuffle rotation for Astros series

ARLINGTON -- The Rangers have switched Derek Holland and Martin Perez in the rotation, with Holland now scheduled to pitch against the Astros on Tuesday, Perez on Wednesday.

Holland last pitched on Thursday, against the Mariners; the switch allows him to stay on four days' rest and follow Cole Hamels in the rotation.

"We have what we feel is our two guys that have been pitching exceptionally well of late going back to back," manager Jeff Banister said.

"It's awesome to hear, but no matter what, I'm not going to let that get to me," Holland said. "I still have to go out there and perform and be me. I can't worry about being the hottest pitcher or any of those sayings that are out there as well. I just have to go out there and be me."

Perez pitched last Wednesday, against the Mariners, so he will be starting on six days' rest. In his career he is 4-5 with a 4.48 ERA in 11 career starts on six-plus days of rest.

Hamels started against the Astros on Monday, and Colby Lewis is still set to start on Thursday in the series finale. That would leave Yovani Gallardo to start on Friday against the Mariners, but the Rangers haven't decided if they are going to give Chi Chi Gonzalez another start.

Gonzalez pitched on Sunday against the Athletics so that Hamels could open the Astros series and did well, allowing three runs -- one earned -- over 51/3 innings in a 12-4 victory.

"We're going to continue to look at our rotation and what we can do," Banister said. "Chi Chi came in and did as good as we could possibly ask him to do. He looked sharp. It was nice to see. We needed Chi Chi to throw a game like that."

Choo dealing with stiff neck: Shin-Soo Choo was in the lineup on Monday despite some stiffness in the right side of his neck. He jammed his neck in the seventh inning of Sunday's game when he stepped on first base awkwardly trying to beat out a grounder. He was replaced defensively in the ninth inning by Drew Stubbs.

"It wasn't bad, but it was hard to turn my neck to the right," Choo said. "I'm looking that way when I'm hitting."

The Rangers held off posting their lineup on Monday until Choo took some swings and deemed himself ready to go.

"It was precautionary," Banister said. "We caught it. We got to him early and got him out so he could start treatment."

Worth noting:
• Catcher Robinson Chirinos reported some improvement in his left shoulder but remains unavailable because of a ruptured tendon. The Rangers aren't sure when he will be available to play.

• Outfielder Leonys Martin still has stitches in his right hand where he underwent surgery to repair a broken hamate bone. He has been working out in hopes of being used as a pinch-runner and defensive replacement before the season ends, but he'll have to wait until the stitches come out.

• Triple-A Round Rock opens the PCL Championship Series against Fresno on Wednesday at Dell Diamond.

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.