Mazara still dealing with thumb injury

Rangers to experiment with "opener" strategy Monday

September 2nd, 2018

ARLINGTON -- Rangers outfielder said that his sprained right thumb is still an issue and will likely be that way for the rest of the season.

"Yeah, you know just ... it's just my thumb, one day it's sore and the other day … you know," Mazara said. "You just don't know. I'm taking something for it, so it's getting better."

"You just try to go out there and not try to go crazy, don't mess it up. When it really hurts is when I swing and miss, if I did try for a pitch, I try to put a good swing on it and get out of there; I don't want to mess it up more than it is right now."

The thumb was feeling pretty good Sunday afternoon as Mazara helped the Rangers set a new club record for extra-base hits in a game. Mazara hit two home runs and a double in the Rangers' 18-4 victory over the Twins at Globe Life Park. He had four home runs in the three-game series.

"A day like today, you never want it to end," Mazara said. "We just kept having good at-bats. When you score a lot of runs, you want to keep having at-bats. It was pretty fun."

Mazara sprained the thumb diving for a fly ball in the outfield in a game against the Orioles just before the All-Star break. He started the second half on the disabled list and wasn't activated until Aug. 16.

Mazara said the best thing he can do is stay under control at the plate. If he does that and doesn't overswing, it keeps him from irritating the thumb.

"Yeah, I don't want to pull the ball because every time I go like that [and extend my arm], it hurts," Mazara said. "So, I'm just trying to keep it in the middle." 

Springs to start Monday

Reliever Jeffrey Springs will start for the Rangers on Monday against the Angels. , who was the scheduled starter, will still pitch, but only after Springs works 1-2 innings.

The Rangers are experimenting with a concept initiated by the Rays, in which a reliever works 1-2 innings at the start of the game against the top of the lineup before the regular starter comes in.

"It's something we thought about," manager Jeff Banister said. "We have a little better feel for the personnel. We still feel good about Jurado, but we'd also still like to take a look at this process. If it gives Jeffrey Springs the feel for starting a baseball game."

The Rangers may do it with other spots in the rotation. is scheduled to pitch Wednesday and will likely do so, but the Rangers are considering a reliever to start that game as well.

"We are looking at potential different spots, whether it's Hutchison," Banister said. "Probably won't do it in front of [Mike] Minor, less likely to do it in front of a guy like [Yovani] Gallardo either or [Bartolo] Colon."

Minor is scheduled to pitch Tuesday against the Angels. The Rangers are undecided beyond that game and that could be the case for the rest of the season.

Rangers beat 

• Outfielder , on the disabled list with back stiffness, had an anti-inflammation injection Friday and is waiting to see if that helps alleviate his situation. He was taken off his medical rehab assignment with Frisco on Thursday when his back flared up again.

• Pitcher Tony Barnette, who is sidelined with a strained lat muscle in his right shoulder, is still limited to throwing on flat ground with no plan to get off a mound anytime soon. Barnette is hoping to pitch again this season, but said he is less sure about it than he was a few weeks ago.

went 0-for-4 on Saturday, ending his streak of reaching base in 41 straight home games. That was the second-longest such streak in the Major Leagues this season. J.D. Martinez of the Red Sox reached base in 51 straight games at Fenway Park.