It's nice to finally see Ron Washington smiling.
On March 16th, I put forth the theory that Jamey Wright was the 2007 version of Pedro Astacio, a mediocre retread veteran who had nowhere to go but down. I hated the decision to make Wright the #5 starter out of spring training rather than Kameron Loe or Bruce Chen, and I still question some of the logic behind that organizational decision.
Jamey Wright may still be a mediocre veteran pitcher, but I'll be danged if he wasn't great tonight. Spreading just four hits and three walks across seven shutout innings, Wright pitched his finest game as a Texas Ranger, and dominated a struggling Oakland lineup in a 4-1 Rangers win.
Wright has now thrown four consecutive starts where he has given up two runs or less in at least five innings of work. With Vicente Padilla's health failing (more on that in a moment), Jamey's spot in the rotation seems secure. Well, for the time being at least.
As for the Rangers offense, Michael Young collected his first extra base hit since June 15th with a 1st inning double, Mark Teixeira helped his trade value some more with a nice 2 for 4 effort, and Marlon Byrd and Jerry Hairston Jr. teamed up with a pair of two run doubles that put Texas up for good. Even the struggling Sammy Sosa had a big night, going 1 for 2 with a double and two walks.
All in all, a very satisfying game.
Aki Otsuka threw 30 pitches before Monday night's game in Oakland, with pitching coach Mark Connor, bullpen coach Dom Chiti, manager Ron Washington and assistant GM Thad Levine all in attendance. Otsuka reported no discomfort in his right elbow, and it appears he'll finally be available on Tuesday night.
The same good news can't be reported on Vicente Padilla, who has been scratched from his second rehab start that was scheduled for Tuesday in Frisco. He'll throw a bullpen session instead, and could make his start on Thursday or Friday if things go well. Pitching coach Mark Connor said that if Padilla experiences another setback, it could be September before he returns. Right now, that scenario seems much more likely than a July return.
Tommy Hunter, who was signed earlier today by the Rangers, is expected to receive a "slot-money" signing bonus of $585,000. He will be assigned to Spokane, and will likely be used out of the bullpen the rest of this season, even if his future role may be as a starter.
Single-A Bakersfield's Chris Davis went 1 for 4 tonight in a 6-4 win to extend his California League hitting streak to 34 games, coming within just one game of the 35 game record held by Brent Gates since 1992. They say the last one is always the hardest.
Robinson Tejeda makes his not-so-grand return to the Rangers rotation on Tuesday night, facing off against one of the better starters in the American League this season in Chad Gaudin. By comparison, Tejeda has been one of the AL's worst starters this year.
But if Oakland's recent streak of 11 straight games without scoring more than three runs continues, this could turn out to be a much closer game than we think.
Tuesday, July 17th Game Preview
Texas Rangers (40-52) at Oakland Athletics (44-49)
Robinson Tejeda (5-8, 6.70 ERA) vs. Chad Gaudin (8-4, 3.18 ERA)
9:05 PM CST in Oakland, California (McAfee Coliseum)
TV: KDFI/My27 | Radio: KRLD 1080 AM