Keeping Hamels fresh a priority for Rangers

Banister wants left-hander strong for second half of the season

Keeping Hamels fresh a priority for Rangers

NEW YORK -- Rangers manager Jeff Banister said Cole Hamels did a "masterful" job in his seven scoreless innings in a 7-1 victory over the Yankees on Tuesday.

But Banister also took Hamels out after 86 pitches, the fewest he has thrown in his 16 starts this season.

"We felt like he has gotten to the point of the season where we are moving into the All-Star break," Banister said. "If we can limit him an inning here or there, the benefit is we need this guy as strong as possible and have him fresh throughout the season and down the stretch."

Hamels is 4-0 with a 0.65 ERA in his last four starts, and he has been under 100 pitches in his last three outings. He is fifth in the American League with 103 2/3 innings and ninth in the league with an average of 102.1 pitches per game.

"If there is an opportunity where we don't have to push him an extra inning, it would be nice," Banister said. "The benefit is to keep him fresh the whole year."

Surkamp adds starting depth

The Rangers added more starting depth when they claimed left-handed pitcher Eric Surkamp off waivers from the Athletics. Rangers general manager Jon Daniels said Surkamp will be used as a starter with Triple-A Round Rock.

Surkamp has done both in parts of five Major League seasons with the Giants, White Sox, Dodgers and Athletics. He is 2-8 with a 7.15 ERA in 16 career starts and 2-0 with a 5.53 ERA in 36 relief appearances.

"We like the guy, we like the arm," Banister said. "He's obviously an experienced guy who adds depth."

Surkamp was 0-5 with a 6.98 ERA in nine starts for the Athletics and 3-1 with a 3.07 ERA in five starts at Triple-A Nashville.

Rangers beat

• The Rangers have officially named Chi Chi Gonzalez as their starter for Saturday.

• Reliever Keone Kela, who is on the disabled list while recovering from right elbow surgery, is scheduled to throw a simulated game on Thursday for Round Rock. He could start a rehab assignment in the Minors as early as Sunday and be ready after the All-Star break.

• With three RBIs on Tuesday, Adrian Beltre now has 1,518 for his career and is tied with Jeff Kent for 51st all-time.

Shin-Soo Choo, after getting plunked by CC Sabathia, has 105 hit-by-pitches since the beginning of 2009, the most in the Majors.

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.