Hurley, Hosmer help Rafters past Sags

Hurley, Hosmer deliver in Rafters shutout

Eric Hurley may not be playing for the World Series with his Rangers teammates this week, but in a small ballpark in Surprise, Ariz., progress was made Wednesday.

Hurley, absent from the Texas rotation since injuries sidelined him in 2008, turned in his best start in over two years, allowing two hits over five innings as Surprise blanked the Peoria Saguaros, 7-0, in the Arizona Fall League.

The right-hander last started for Texas on July 27, 2008, but injuries and setbacks from surgeries sidelined him until his debut with Surprise on Oct. 15. Wednesday marked just his third appearance since pitching for the team battling for the World Series.

A hamstring strain, torn rotator cuff and frayed labrum ended Hurley's season in 2009 after noted specialist Dr. Lewis Yocum recommended surgery. He was expected to compete for a spot in the Rangers rotation in Spring Training, but missed all of 2010 after complications from surgery to repair a broken bone in his left wrist in March. Now in the Arizona Fall League, he's slowly battling back.

"[My arm] feels great right now," Hurley said after his win. "Everything went good."

Hurley struck on five and did not walk a batter in his third AFL outing. The righty was the Rangers' first-round pick in 2004 and debuted with Texas four years later.

Now in the AFL, he's determined to get healthy and prove he's ready.

"It's great, I couldn't ask for a better staff to come into out here," Hurley said. "I've made some adjustments from my last outing to this outing, and it paid off today. I'm definitely going to stick with it. It's nice to get back out there."

Hurley said the Rangers didn't give him any guidelines or goals to achieve during the fall season -- they'd just like him to stay off the disabled list.

"They just want me to come here, get out of this thing healthy and get as many innings as they'll allow me to get," he said. "Today, I got some innings under my belt. It's been a long time."

Hurley, who said finding a consistent arm angle was the key, threw 60 pitches -- 40 for strikes -- and left due to pitch count. He threw 4 2/3 innings over his first two outings coming into the game.

"I don't ever want to come out," he said. "I felt great, never fatigued, never felt like my body was shutting down. Everything felt strong."

Hurley, 24, split the 2008 season between Double-A Frisco and Triple-A Oklahoma City before joining Texas in July, where he went 1-2 with a 5.47 ERA in five starts against Kansas City, Atlanta, Houston, Philadelphia and Oakland. He'll be watching some of his old teammates take on San Francisco tonight in Game 1 of the fall classic.

"It's unbelievable, every one of those guys is deserving. You couldn't ask to play with a better group of guys," he said. "I've been fortunate to get to know them. They're aggressive and they deserve it. I'll be watching and cheering them on."

Another former top pick, Royals first baseman Eric Hosmer, led the way offensively with four RBIs for Surprise. Joey Butler (Rangers) knocked in two runs.

Twins starter David Bromberg, the Florida State League's top pitcher in 2009, was charged with five runs -- four earned -- on seven hits and two walks over 4 2/3 innings to suffer the loss for Peoria. Fellow Minnesota prospect Chris Parmelee was the only Saguaros batter to reach base twice, with a single and a walk as Peoria was held to just six hits.

Danny Wild is an editor for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.