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Rays-Rangers Preview

AP - Sports

The Texas Rangers own the worst record in the AL while leading the majors in players on the disabled list.

They've added Yu Darvish to that list for the second time this year, and it's unclear if he'll be back.

With their ace out, the Rangers will recall Robbie Ross from the minors as they try to salvage a split of this four-game set with the Tampa Bay Rays.

After winning 90 games each of the last four seasons, Texas (47-73) is on pace to lose 98 and has a chance at the franchise's first 100-loss season since 1973 - just its second after moving from Washington.

With little to play for, the Rangers put Darvish on the disabled list with right elbow inflammation Wednesday as a precaution ahead of an MRI Thursday.

"Yu had expressed that he could pitch probably if we were in a different spot, a meaningful game (Thursday)," general manager Jon Daniels said. "He agreed, we agreed, it was better to be cautious. ... With the year we've had with injuries, we're not going to push it and take any chance at this point."

The right-hander is the 14th Ranger currently on the DL. Texas has had a major league-high 24 overall this season, including Darvish earlier this year due to neck stiffness.

It's uncertain if the Rangers will shut him down for the remainder of the season.

"I don't think that's where his head is, that's not where our head is," Daniels said.

Texas will call up Ross (2-4, 5.61 ERA) from Triple-A Round Rock to start in place of Darvish following Wednesday's 10-1 loss to Tampa Bay.

Ross started the year in the Rangers' rotation, going 1-4 with a 4.78 ERA in nine starts before being moved to the bullpen and subsequently demoted. The lefty had a 2.91 ERA over his last five starts for Round Rock, a major improvement from a 10.54 mark over his first four games - three starts.

"He's made progress and was ready to get another opportunity," Daniels said. "He feels good about himself. He's got his confidence back, made a couple of mechanical changes, but the biggest thing, he's got his confidence back."

Ross has allowed two hits in 5 2-3 innings over five scoreless relief appearances against Tampa Bay (59-61).

The Rays will counter with Jake Odorizzi (8-9, 3.89) as they look for a sixth win in their last eight. The right-hander is 6-3 with a 2.63 ERA over 11 starts since June 10, a stretch in which he's gone 3-0 with a 2.42 ERA in four road outings.

Odorizzi was impressive as the visitor again Saturday, striking out nine while allowing three hits in six innings of a 4-0 win over the Chicago Cubs.

He yielded three hits in six scoreless innings of an 8-1 home win in his only career meeting with Texas on April 4.

Now, Odorizzi will try to help the Rays get a bit closer to a major league record. Tampa Bay has allowed three runs or fewer in 17 consecutive road games for an AL record, and only the 1908 Chicago Cubs managed a longer stretch of 21.

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