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Ross moved to bullpen; Martinez to be recalled

Rangers shuffle rotation while competing for AL Wild Card spot
Special to MLB.com

ANAHEIM -- Needing more consistency out of the rotation while battling for an American League Wild Card spot, Rangers manager Jeff Banister announced Thursday that right-hander Tyson Ross will be moved to the bullpen.

Nick Martinez is expected to be recalled to make the start Friday when the Rangers open a three-game road series against the A's. Cole Hamels will make his scheduled start Saturday, while A.J. Griffin, originally slated to start Friday, will start Sunday's finale.

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ANAHEIM -- Needing more consistency out of the rotation while battling for an American League Wild Card spot, Rangers manager Jeff Banister announced Thursday that right-hander Tyson Ross will be moved to the bullpen.

Nick Martinez is expected to be recalled to make the start Friday when the Rangers open a three-game road series against the A's. Cole Hamels will make his scheduled start Saturday, while A.J. Griffin, originally slated to start Friday, will start Sunday's finale.

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"We're in a race to get into the playoffs," Banister said. "The starting rotation is really a No. 1 asset."

Ross, who Banister said would be available Thursday against the Angels, threw 98 pitches over 3 2/3 innings in Tuesday's loss to the Angels. Ross has completed six innings just once in 10 starts, and his 7.04 ERA would be a career high for a season in which he's logged at least 10 starts.

"Look, Tyson has had his struggles," Banister said. "He's shown flashes. I think he's a starter. He's going to be a starter. He's got dynamic stuff. It's just been a challenge for him this year. … We just felt like it was the time to go ahead and make the move, and give Tyson a chance to exhale a little bit."

Martinez was scratched from his scheduled start Thursday with Triple-A Round Rock. The team has yet to make a move to get him on the 25-man roster, and Banister asserted that Ross is not a candidate for the disabled list.

Banister cited Martinez's career success pitching in Oakland as a factor in the decision. Martinez is 4-0 with a 1.26 ERA in six games there (four starts), holding opponents to a .198 average.

Video: BOS@TEX: N. Martinez K's Ramirez to get out of a jam

Martinez, 27, has a 5.38 ERA in 16 appearances (13 starts) with the Rangers this year, but hasn't allowed a run over his last two starts (14 innings) with Round Rock since being optioned on Aug. 9. Banister wouldn't confirm if Martinez was expected to hold that rotation spot for more than one turn.

Claudio not intimidated by workload

Left-hander Alex Claudio has already surpassed his Major League career high for innings pitched (69 entering Thursday), which is 17 1/3 more than any of his previous three seasons in the Majors.

Claudio pitched 109 1/3 innings in 2014 between his time in the Majors and Minors, and isn't fazed by his increased workload.

"I know I'm capable of it. I don't feel scared," Claudio said through an interpreter.

Video: TEX@LAA: Claudio retires Pujols to secure 5-3 win

Claudio said he's taken time when away from the field to relish his role as a stabilizing force in the Rangers' bullpen. His 2.22 ERA through 56 relief appearances is the 10th-best relief ERA in the American League. Teammates, including third baseman Adrian Beltre, have dubbed Claudio the team's MVP at times this season.

"Those are things you dream about, to be an important part of a team like that," Claudio said. "I can see my dreams come true with Beltre saying things like that."

Ryan Posner is a contributor to MLB.com based in Los Angeles and covered the Rangers on Thursday.

Texas Rangers, Nick Martinez, Tyson Ross