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Hamels looking to be more efficient

Ross' return pushed back; Beltre getting better
MLB.com @Sullivan_Ranger

OAKLAND -- Cole Hamels could be 3-0 after his first three starts if not for the late-inning troubles of the Rangers bullpen. He has left the game each time with a lead only to end up with a no-decision.

But there are still signs of concern. According to Statcast™, the velocity on Hamels' sinker has gone from an average of 93.1 mph last season to 91.9. His percentage of first-pitch strikes has gone from 57.6 percent last year to 50.7 through three starts. He is also getting swing-and-miss on 6.6 percent of his pitches, down from a routine 12-13 percent when he is at his best.

Full Game Coverage

OAKLAND -- Cole Hamels could be 3-0 after his first three starts if not for the late-inning troubles of the Rangers bullpen. He has left the game each time with a lead only to end up with a no-decision.

But there are still signs of concern. According to Statcast™, the velocity on Hamels' sinker has gone from an average of 93.1 mph last season to 91.9. His percentage of first-pitch strikes has gone from 57.6 percent last year to 50.7 through three starts. He is also getting swing-and-miss on 6.6 percent of his pitches, down from a routine 12-13 percent when he is at his best.

Full Game Coverage

"For me it's a matter of executing strikes," Hamels said. "It's there, but I have to make the adjustments. This coming week, I need to really focus on picking up the target better and really locating."

Hamels needed 96 pitches to get through five innings Sunday. He left with a 6-4 lead but the Mariners rallied for an 8-7 victory.

"When you're not able to get ahead, it's kind of 50-50," Hamels said. "Pitching five innings with the pitch count that I had, it's not what I'm accustomed to or prefer to do. To do what I need to do, I need to be able to go out there for seven or eight innings."

For his career, Hamels averages 2.41 walks and 8.6 strikeouts per nine innings. After three starts, he is averaging 5.5 strikeouts and 3.5 walks per nine innings. His strikeouts-to-walks have gone from 3.56 to 1.57.

Ross' return delayed

Pitcher Tyson Ross, on the disabled list while recovering from offseason shoulder surgery, has returned to Texas while dealing with upper back spasms. Ross had been throwing in Arizona but was scratched from an extended spring start Wednesday.

"He's gotten 80 to 90 percent relief but it's not 100 percent gone," general manager Jon Daniels said. "He's not going off a mound until the discomfort is totally gone. Before this, the first week of May looked realistic. This will push it back. I don't know how far, but it will clearly be one to two weeks."

Beltre progressing

Third baseman Adrian Beltre, on the disabled list with a strained right calf muscle, took early batting practice Monday, did some light jogging and walked the stairs in the bleachers. His return is not imminent.

"It's coming slowly but getting better," Beltre said.

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.

Texas Rangers, Adrian Beltre, Cole Hamels, Tyson Ross