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Rangers to go with closer-by-committee

Bush may still appear in ninth; Perez to return Monday; International FA signings announced July 2
MLB.com @Sullivan_Ranger

CHICAGO -- The closer role for the Rangers is now open.

Manager Jeff Banister said the Rangers will look at several different options in their quest to close out games in the ninth inning. The Rangers are going to back down Matt Bush after he let a 7-5 lead get away in the ninth inning of an 8-7 loss to the White Sox on Friday night.

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CHICAGO -- The closer role for the Rangers is now open.

Manager Jeff Banister said the Rangers will look at several different options in their quest to close out games in the ninth inning. The Rangers are going to back down Matt Bush after he let a 7-5 lead get away in the ninth inning of an 8-7 loss to the White Sox on Friday night.

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"We'll use multiple pitchers based on who is available and the set of hitters coming up," Banister said. "We are not set on one single guy."

Keone Kela is one of the options, but he is dealing with soreness in his right biceps. It's an issue that has flared off and off for the past month or so, and his availability on a daily basis is subject to change. He was not available on Friday night.

The Rangers have resisted the idea of putting Kela on the disabled list.

"Not at this point," Banister said. "We feel like the ability to manage it through treatment ... that's the conservative side of it."

Kela has been outstanding lately, when available. He has a 1.02 ERA and 0.74 WHIP in his last 17 games.

"Kela has the best stuff to do it," Banister said. "But at this point you might see a situation where we have two guys in the inning."

Video: TEX@WSH: Kela seals the Rangers' extra-innings win

Left-hander Alex Claudio, who has a 2.48 ERA, and rookie right-hander Jose Leclerc are also possibilities for the ninth inning. Leclerc is inexperienced but has a 2.74 ERA, a 1.09 WHIP and 37 strikeouts in 23 innings.

"We have to find the best recipe to get the 27th out," Banister said. "How we get there -- traditional, non-traditional -- it's figuring out who will stand out there in the last inning and get the last out."

As for Bush, Banister said, "I'm not saying he's not going to pitch the ninth. I'm saying we have to close games out. We have been inconsistent."

Banister said there is still a possibility that one of his relievers could step up and seize the job. That's what happened in May 2015, when the Rangers went through a similar situation with Neftali Feliz. Banister declared the job open and Shawn Tolleson quickly seized the role for the remainder of the year.

"That hasn't happened yet," Banister said.

The Rangers should get help in the bullpen in the next day or two when Tony Barnette is activated off the disabled list. Jeremy Jeffress, who had 27 saves for the Brewers last year, remains on the disabled list with a strained lower back.

Perez ready to return: Left-hander Martin Perez is ready to come off the disabled list and pitch against the Red Sox on Monday. Perez has been sidelined with a fractured tip of his right thumb and will be making his first start since June 22.

He threw a bullpen session on Friday and is able to field his position without any issues with the thumb. So the plan now is to put him back in the rotation on Monday.

"We continue to trend in that direction," Rangers manager Jeff Banister said.

Yu Darvish will start on Tuesday against the Red Sox and it will be either Andrew Cashner or Austin Bibens-Dirkx on Wednesday. Cashner is still dealing with a contusion on his right forearm after getting hit by a broken bat on Thursday in Cleveland. The Rangers aren't rushing a decision on that.

Rangers beat:

• July 2 is signing day for international amateur free agents, mainly from Latin America. The Rangers are expected to announce 6-8 signings of what they expect will be a productive class of players.

• The Rangers will be wearing stars-and-stripes decorated caps and jerseys over the next four games for Independence Day.

• Shin-Soo Choo had 19 walks for June, one short of the club record for that month.

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.

Texas Rangers, Matt Bush, Keone Kela, Jose Leclerc