Rangers going with youth against Mariners

Field Level Media

The Texas Rangers hoped some of their top young pitching prospects would be ready to make their major league debuts this year.

But the plan wasn't for that to happen this early in the season.

Left-hander Taylor Hearn will be recalled from Triple-A Nashville and is scheduled to start when the Rangers open a four-game series Thursday in Seattle.

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"He's throwing the ball really well," Rangers manager Chris Woodward said after a 6-5 loss in Oakland on Wednesday. "He is attacking the zone. He's doing all the things we wanted to see down there. But, yes, we're in a little bit of a circumstance."

The Rangers started long reliever Kyle Dowdy on Wednesday because they scratched Drew Smyly due to "nerve tightness" in his left arm. And Lance Lynn lasted just four innings Tuesday.

Hearn, 24, was acquired from Pittsburgh for Keone Kela at last year's trade deadline. In four starts at Nashville, he's 1-3 with a 4.06 ERA with 26 strikeouts in 20 innings. He's also walked 10.

"We obviously have to take a real hard look at (pitching depth)," Woodward said. "I don't want to put us in a bind where we don't have enough arms to cover the innings."

Woodward, a former Mariners player and coach who is in his first season as a manager, learned an important lesson Wednesday.

The game was delayed for several moments in the top of the ninth after the Rangers' Delino DeShields grounded into an inning-ending double play.

Replays appeared to show that Oakland second baseman Jurickson Profar came off the bag before receiving a throw from shortstop Marcus Semien, but the umpires ruled Woodward did not ask for a challenge in time.

"I guess if you don't put (a hand) up right away they have the authority to not let you challenge, and that's kind of what happened," Woodward said. "My argument was that it's too important in the ninth inning of a tie game and the potential of (Hunter Pence) being safe at second base is too important. They wouldn't do it."

Nomar Mazara hit two solo home runs for the Rangers and has four hits in the past two games to raise his average to .219. That followed an 0-for-15 slump.

"I've been feeling good since Day 1," Mazara told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. "I think the only series I felt off was the last one against Houston. You've got to be tough and welcome it. I'm not going to put my head down. I'm going to keep working harder."

The Rangers and Mariners have both lost three games in a row.

Seattle suffered a 1-0 loss Wednesday at San Diego, managing just two hits. That wasted a strong start by Felix Hernandez, who gave up one run on three hits in seven innings with eight strikeouts.

"Felix did an awesome job. I feel bad we couldn't extend the game or get him the win," Mariners manager Servais said. "We'll take plenty of outings like that. It was great to see."

The Mariners' Jay Bruce, who has a team-leading nine home runs, has missed the past three games with a sore quadriceps.

Left-hander Marco Gonzales (4-0, 3.32 ERA) is scheduled to start Thursday for Seattle. Gonzales is 3-1 with a 3.25 ERA in five career starts against the Rangers.

--Field Level Media

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