Rotation shifted to give Hamels another start

Rangers ace set for three more regular-season outings

Rotation shifted to give Hamels another start

OAKLAND -- The Rangers are using the off-day to adjust their rotation and Cole Hamels will pitch Thursday against the Athletics rather than Friday against the Astros.

Moving Hamels up a day puts him in position to make three more starts before the season is over. Hamels is lined up to pitch Thursday against the Athletics, the following Tuesday against the Tigers and then the final game of the season against the Angels, on Sunday, Oct. 4.

If the Rangers have already clinched a playoff spot by Oct. 4, Hamels could be held out to pitch the first game of postseason.

"That's the biggest benefit," manager Jeff Banister said. "We'd like to have our best out there for three more games."

The only drawback is Hamels will not start against the Astros. Instead it will be Yovani Gallardo, Derek Holland and Martin Perez in the three-game series that starts Friday at Minute Maid Park.

"This is an opportunity to have him for three starts," Banister said. "All games matter, not just those three [against the Astros]. It's about taking care of what we need to every day."

Hamels is 4-1 with a 3.73 ERA in nine starts since being acquired from the Phillies on July 31. He is 4-0 with a 3.12 ERA in his last seven starts, and the Rangers have won all seven games.

"I don't care about my individual record as long as I keep us in the game and do the best job I can," Hamels said. "As long as you win, that's what being a good teammate is about: Doing your job and not for your own glory."

Other clubs are setting their rotations as well. The Athletics announced Tuesday that All-Star right-hander Sonny Gray will not pitch against the Rangers on Thursday. He is being pushed back to Friday against the Giants while right-hander Chris Bassitt will pitch against the Rangers. Bassitt is 1-6, but with a 2.82 ERA in 10 starts and five relief appearances for the Athletics.

Astros manager A.J. Hinch has also set his rotation for the Rangers series. He is going with left-hander Scott Kazmir, right-hander Collin McHugh and left-hander Dallas Keuchel.

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.