Rangers, A's conclude series with questions on mound

Field Level Media

Two teams trying to focus on small pieces of good news on the injury front complete a three-game series with shaky pitching situations Wednesday afternoon when the Texas Rangers visit the Oakland Athletics.

The game will serve as a glorified opening act for the main event next door, in which the Golden State Warriors will be looking to eliminate the Los Angeles Clippers in the first round of the NBA playoffs in a game that figures to tip off about three hours after the Rangers-A's game ends.

With Texas relegated to saving reliever Kyle Dowdy (1-0, 3.48) for his first start of the season on Wednesday, the A's exhausted the remainder of the Rangers bullpen in Tuesday's 11-5 win by sending starter Lance Lynn to the showers in the fourth inning.

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Dowdy will get the ball following news that the Rangers' scheduled starter, left-hander Drew Smyly, had to be placed on the injured list with tightness in his left arm.

The 26-year-old right-hander impressed his coaches in his most recent relief appearance, shutting out the Houston Astros on two hits over 3 2/3 innings in a 7-2 loss on Friday.

Dowdy has only four career major league appearances, all in relief, and has never faced the A's.

Rangers manager Chris Woodward downplayed Smyly's injury before Tuesday's game, choosing to focus on the day's positive news -- that shortstop Elvis Andrus had escaped serious injury after a scare in Monday's 6-1 loss.

Andrus was hit by a pitch in the first inning of the series opener, and by game's end, there was noticeable swelling in his right hand.

No break was diagnosed, however, and Andrus was able to bat third in Tuesday's loss, going 1-for-5 with a single and a stolen base.

"For me, it's more knowing that it's not broke. The pain that I have is because of the swelling," Andrus told reporters before the game. "So now that I know it's no problem, mentally I can swing hard knowing that nothing's going to happen."

Smyly becomes the second scheduled starting pitcher in the series who had to be scratched because of an injury. Oakland switched over to Chris Bassitt on Monday night after Marco Estrada experienced back pain.

Estrada underwent a radio-frequency procedure called an ablation on Tuesday in an effort to relieve pain in his lumbar spine.

A's trainer Nick Paparesta explained the goal of the non-surgical procedure was to ease Estrada's pain so that he could return to pitching as soon as possible.

"It could help speed up the recovery in regard to the fact that it could get him back pitching quicker because he would not have the pain," Paparesta informed reporters. "He doesn't have any weakness; it's just pain and discomfort in the joints."

Under ideal circumstances, the A's would have had Bassitt pitch Wednesday's game in place of Aaron Brooks, (2-2, 5.32), who has struggled big-time in his last three starts, allowing 13 runs in 16 innings.

Brooks not only has never faced the Rangers in his career, but has never gone head-to-head with any current member of the Texas team.

--Field Level Media

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