ARLINGTON -- Two weeks after making his Major League debut, Rangers right-hander Austin Bibens-Dirx will make his first start on Wednesday against the Rays.
Bibens-Dirkx has made four relief appearances since being called up to the big leagues for the first time in his 12-year professional career. Now, he'll fill in for A.J. Griffin, who is on the disabled list with a strained left intercostal muscle.
"It's a similar feeling from [my big league debut]," Bibens-Dirkx said. "I have been starting for most of my career. Going into my first big league start, I have the mindset of doing what I was doing out of the bullpen, get my emotions under control and continue to make pitches."
Bibens-Dirkx has a 3.97 ERA in four games, with a 0.97 WHIP and a .195 batting average against. He threw four innings in his last outing against the Blue Jays on Friday, allowing three runs in relief of Griffin.
Bibens-Dirkx threw 84 pitches in his previous outing, so the Rangers are confident he can give them five to six innings, or more. The Rangers are also hoping that with four relief appearances, the excitement of being in the big leagues is starting to subside.
"He is not a 21- or 22-year old kid," manager Jeff Banister said of the 32-year-old. "He's got some skins on the wall, now he's got some from a Major League game. I don't expect overanxiety. I've got to believe that from what we've seen from him. He has faced some pretty notable names already, and been OK. He's got some weapons to pitch in a Major League game."
Bibens-Dirkx pitched in 318 Minor League games, including 140 starts, 50 of which came in Triple-A. He made another 63 starts in winter leagues, and 18 in independent leagues.
"The last three weeks have been about settling the nerves," Bibens-Dirkx said. "It's been great being around this environment, having the emotions settle down and doing my job. It's the same game. If you make pitches, you get outs. If you don't make pitches, you get hurt. I need to keep the ball down, and, hopefully, make as many quality pitches as I can, and go from there."
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.