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Miller will skip next start, work from bullpen

Openers will precede Sampson, Jurado; Smyly starts Sunday vs. Cards
May 16, 2019

KANSAS CITY -- Rangers manager Chris Woodward has some creative pitching plans as they return to Globe Life Park on Friday to open a three-game series against the Cardinals. Woodward confirmed before Thursday's 16-1 win over the Royals that struggling right-hander Shelby Miller will not take his scheduled starting turn

KANSAS CITY -- Rangers manager Chris Woodward has some creative pitching plans as they return to Globe Life Park on Friday to open a three-game series against the Cardinals.

Woodward confirmed before Thursday's 16-1 win over the Royals that struggling right-hander Shelby Miller will not take his scheduled starting turn on Sunday and will work from the bullpen, at least temporarily. Meanwhile, left-hander Drew Smyly's turn is being pushed back to Sunday from Friday as Smyly recovers from a slight left ankle sprain.

Adrian Sampson on Friday and Ariel Jurado on Saturday will be the primary pitchers, with Jose Leclerc expected to work in front of Sampson as an opener, and Jesse Chavez likely to fill the opener's role ahead of Jurado, provided that Shawn Kelley is activated.

"It'll be good to get those first three or four hitters out of the way, because I don't want to put an expectation of [Sampson or Jurado] going 90 or 100 pitches," Woodward said. "With both those guys, it will just help them get through."

The decision to take Miller out of the starting rotation comes after his ERA ballooned to 9.51 when he allowed seven hits and eight runs over 1 2/3 innings in the opening game vs. the Royals on Tuesday.

Woodward said both he and pitching coach Julio Rangel have spoken to Miller about the plan that will be laid out for him moving forward.

"He's fine with it," Woodward said. "He's open to whatever. He knows he has struggled in a starting role."

For the time being, Woodward said he envisions Miller being used for an inning or two in certain situations.

"It takes a lot of heat off him to let him just go out there and let it rip," Woodward said. "I'm interested to see how that looks. He's a power arm."