MESA, Ariz. -- Mike Hauschild has a better-than-average shot to make his first Opening Day roster as a Rule 5 player. And with a couple of Rangers starters ailing right now, he has a chance to fill out the rotation as well.Hauschild put together a strong first outing but couldn't
MESA, Ariz. -- Mike Hauschild has a better-than-average shot to make his first Opening Day roster as a Rule 5 player. And with a couple of Rangers starters ailing right now, he has a chance to fill out the rotation as well.
Hauschild put together a strong first outing but couldn't build on it in Thursday's 5-1 loss to the A's. The right-hander fought his command from the get-go and crept up to his pitch limit when he finally began to lock in.
"I felt a little out of whack," Hauschild said after the loss at Hohokam Stadium. "You're not going to have success if you're behind everybody, 2-0."
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Hauschild, yet to pitch in the big leagues, was plucked out of the Astros' system in the Rule 5 Draft for $100,000 and by rule must stay on the Rangers' Major League roster for the whole season or be offered back to Houston for $50,000. And with both right-handers Andrew Cashner (biceps) and Tyson Ross (shoulder) yet to pitch in camp, Hauschild could grab the fifth-starter job -- or be sent to the bullpen.
"Just go out like you're trying to make a spot," Hauschild said was the instruction he received from pitching coach Doug Brocail before his initial appearance on Sunday against the Royals.
After two innings of one-hit ball then, the A's jumped on the 27-year-old Hauschild in the first frame on Thursday. Two batters in, Hauschild had already given up a single, a double and a run. The first two reached in the second as well, on a hit and walk, but Hauschild avoided further damage thanks to a double-play grounder.
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Both Hauschild and manager Jeff Banister said the former was rushing too much, which led to the erratic control. Hauschild's fastball was tailing across the plate instead of sinking toward it.
"The stuff is there. We like the stuff," Banister said. "Just getting it under control. ... We'll go to work on it and try to slow him down a little bit."
Hauschild improved in the third after he made the mechanical adjustment to slow down and drive toward home plate. But an error and a climbing pitch count limited him to just three batters in the frame.
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"I was pretty much around the zone that whole inning or while I was out there," Hauschild said.
"It happens," Hauschild later lamented.
But better early in the spring rather than later, right?
"It's bad either way," Hauschild said. "But at least I have a little time to hopefully make up for it and do well next time."
Chris Gabel is a contributor to MLB.com.