Ranaudo, Ramos part of Griffin contingency plan

Darvish set for rehab start Thursday at Round Rock

Ranaudo, Ramos part of Griffin contingency plan

ARLINGTON -- Left-hander Cesar Ramos and right-hander Anthony Ranaudo are the Rangers' choices to replace A.J. Griffin as their fifth starter. But both will be available out of the bullpen during the White Sox series until the Rangers determine when they'll need the fifth starter.

The Rangers have an off-day on Thursday so they have some flexibility with their rotation. Ramos pitched two innings of relief and took the loss in Monday's 8-4, 12-inning defeat to the White Sox. The left-hander allowed four runs on three hits and three walks.

"Let's see how we maneuver through the next few days and how we deploy the guys in the bullpen," manager Jeff Banister said. "Then we'll have a better solution."

The Rangers are not looking at Yu Darvish to be the solution while Griffin is on the disabled list with a sore right shoulder. The Rangers want Darvish to make at least three more starts on medical rehabilitation assignment before he returns from Tommy John surgery.

Darvish has made two starts so far and is scheduled to pitch on Thursday for Triple-A Round Rock. He is scheduled to throw 60 pitches over four innings. The Rangers want him to throw another at 75 pitches over five innings and one more after that at 90 pitches over six innings.

"I'd rather have him get those six innings in the Minor League under controlled conditions," pitching coach Doug Brocail said.

The Rangers have Colby Lewis, Derek Holland and Cole Hamels pitching against the White Sox. Their tentative plan is to have Martin Perez go Friday and Lewis on Saturday against the Blue Jays. Banister said the earliest he would insert a spot starter back into the rotation would likely be Sunday.

Fielder could use hit as birthday present
Rangers designated hitter Prince Fielder turned 32 on Monday. Three hits would have been a good birthday present.

"Sure," said Fielder.

He entered Monday in an 0-for-14 slump, but went 1-for-4 and has just two home runs in 125 at-bats. He dismissed any concerns, as did Banister.

"I feel great … locked in," Fielder said before Monday's game.

"Prince is going to hit home runs," Banister said. "Come out and watch batting practice, you see Prince have all the raw power you need. It's not just raw power that creates home runs. Nobody feels worse than Prince. He continues to work and try to find that rhythm."

Worth noting

• Outfielder Shin-Soo Choo, on the disabled list with a strained right calf muscle, is traveling to Arizona for 4-5 days of games in extended spring training. If that goes well, he will begin a medical rehabilitation assignment in the Minor Leagues. Choo has been running the bases and said he is close to 100 percent.

• Josh Boyd, the Rangers' director of pro scouting, also celebrated his birthday on Monday.

• The Rangers had gone 165 plate appearances with the bases loaded without a grand slam before Bobby Wilson delivered on Sunday afternoon. It was the Rangers' first grand slam since Rougned Odor hit one against the Mariners on Aug. 27, 2014. The Rangers were the only Major League team without a grand slam in 2015.

Wilson's tiebreaking grand slam

• The eight runs scored on Sunday were the most by the Rangers in a game after the opposing starter had held them scoreless for the first seven innings. The previous high was in a 7-5 win over the Yankees on May 14, 1998, after Hideki Irabu held them scoreless for seven innings.

T.R. Sullivan has covered the Rangers since 1989, and for MLB.com since 2006. 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.