Perez, Lewis strong candidates to follow Hamels, Darvish
By Ryan Posner
ARLINGTON -- Rangers manager Jeff Banister on Wednesday said the team is more inclined to go with a four-man rotation, instead of three, for the postseason.
Banister has not confirmed his postseason rotation plan outside of Cole Hamels and Yu Darvish. But right-hander Colby Lewis and left-hander Martin Perez will finish out the team's regular season games, in that order, behind Hamels and Darvish.
"We look at all different scenarios, weigh the pros and cons," Banister said. "We just feel that four guys, given where we are at and the pitchers that we have, I think that's the best scenario for us."
Having Perez is one of the reasons Banister feels comfortable going with a four-man playoff rotation. The 25-year-old has made a career-high 32 starts this season and Banister likes the fact Perez made a start in the American League Division Series last year.
While Perez's numbers down the stretch have not mirrored the success he had earlier in the season, Banister has still liked what he's seen.
"I think Martin's ability to rebound from some challenging starts has given me the sense that this is a guy that continues to mature and get better," Banister said. "He's playoff-experienced, there's a lot of positive to that."
Banister is pretty firm in keeping his playoff rotation in a routine. That stands true even if the team falls behind in a series and there is pressure to move Hamels or Darvish up.
"These guys are not conditioned to go on three days' rest," Banister said. " ... I'm not saying it's not a possibility. But if you look back at the success -- or lack thereof -- when teams do that, there's not as much success."
Beltran still enjoys outfield role
At 39, Carlos Beltran knows being the designated hitter is going to play an important role in extending his career. But Beltran still enjoys playing the outfield and showed flashes of his defensive ability with a diving catch in right field in Tuesday's win over the Brewers.
"He dialed back the clock last night," Banister said. "He showed some of those younger guys that if you don't think I can do this, go back and look."
Beltran, a three-time Gold Glove Award winner, has made just nine starts in right field with the Rangers, compared to 36 starts as the designated hitter. He made 60 starts in right field with the Yankees before being traded.
"I love being out there," Beltran said. "Being a DH requires a lot of concentration because you have to find a way to stay loose for the next at-bat. So every time I get the opportunity to go out there, I really enjoy myself."
If Shin-Soo Choo is able to return this week, he would likely assume the everyday role in right field. Banister will still look to get Beltran time in the outfield, though, saying it can help, "liven the body up."
• Choo played in his third consecutive instructional league game on Wednesday, going 2-for-5 with a homer and a walk, and logged seven innings in right field. He's expected to travel back to Arlington on Thursday morning.
• Reliever Tony Barnette was feeling fine on Wednesday after making his first appearance since Sept. 4 (left oblique strain) on Tuesday against the Brewers. He picked up the win, after throwing a scoreless sixth inning.
• Outfielder Carlos Gomez has four three-RBI games since joining the Rangers on Aug. 25. That's tied for the third most in the Majors in that span.
Ryan Posner is a reporter for MLB.com based in Texas. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.