Rangers weighing roster, rotation options
TORONTO -- The Blue Jays have set their rotation and roster for the American League Division Series. The Rangers have not.
The Rangers have brought 30 players to Toronto, but don't have to submit a final 25-man roster until 9 a.m. CT on Thursday. They also have decided on Yovani Gallardo and Cole Hamels as their first two starters, but remain undecided for Games 3 and 4 between left-handers Derek Holland and Martin Perez and right-hander Colby Lewis.
One of those three could end up in the bullpen along with closer Shawn Tolleson, right-handers Sam Dyson and Keone Kela, and left-hander Jake Diekman. That leaves two spots open in a seven-man bullpen, and the Rangers have brought right-handers Ross Ohlendorf, Anthony Bass and Chi Chi Gonzalez, and left-handers Sam Freeman and Andrew Faulkner to Toronto.
Right-handers Luke Jackson and Nick Martinez have been sent to Surprise, Ariz., to continue working out in case they are needed because of injury. Spencer Patton, who was called up on the last day of the season, has gone back home to Illinois. Tanner Scheppers wasn't going to be on the postseason roster, but will be unavailable because of a cut on his right index finger that required five stitches. He was hurt during Sunday's postgame clubhouse celebration.
The position players are just about set. Will Venable and Drew Stubbs are here as the extra outfielders, as the Rangers also sent infielder Joey Gallo and outfielders Leonys Martin and Ryan Strausborger to Surprise to stay ready.
The Rangers did bring four catchers to Toronto, but they are expected to go with Chris Gimenez and Robinson Chirinos over Bobby Wilson and Carlos Corporan. Chirinos is still dealing with a sore left shoulder, so the Rangers want Wilson here just in case. Corporan has not played since before the All-Star break.
• This is the first time since the postseason was expanded in 1995 that all final four AL teams are former expansion franchises.
• Jeff Banister, preparing for his first postseason as a manager, said he has had multiple conversations with others who have been through it, including Pirates mentor Clint Hurdle.
"I'm very fortunate and blessed to be able to have gone through some playoff games myself as being a bench coach," Banister said. "Being able to watch one of the guys who I think is one of the best managers in the game today, one of the best people, a mentor of mine and a guy that I know is just a phone call or an instant message away from relying on and getting some information or some help.
"What I watch from him is that -- there's a statement that he says all the time. He says, 'The game doesn't know that the game's important.' Really doesn't. Still a game. You go out and meet the demands of the game, however it's played out in front of you. As a player, as a manager, you go out and try to meet the demands of the game."
• Said reliever Jake Diekman: "People don't think we have a chance. I have seen it all over Twitter. Whatever."