ARLINGTON -- The Rangers had the best record in baseball at 15-4 entering Friday's series opener against the Rays. And still, manager Ron Washington said his team can play better -- specifically when it comes to moving runners over and scoring guys from third base with less than two outs.It's nitpicking -- the Rangers are batting .313 as a team with runners in scoring position. But there have been situations, especially with runners at third, where they can improve. "Our execution can get better," Washington said. "That definitely can get better. Getting runners over with nobody out from second base when we don't bunt, getting them in from third with less than two outs, infield in and we need a ball in the air, making sure you elevate it and drive it to the outfield. Those are things the game asks you every single day to do."
Lewis to put walk-less streak on the line
ARLINGTON -- Rangers right-hander Colby Lewis takes a streak of 24 2/3 innings without a walk into Saturday's start against the Rays. He said Friday he's doing nothing differently from his previous two seasons since coming back to the Major Leagues from Japan."I'm just going out there and doing it," said Lewis, who had a first-inning walk to Adam Dunn in the season opener against the White Sox. "The last couple of years, I've tried to improve each season. It's not a different mindset. I'm trying to make them earn it." Lewis averaged 23 walks in two seasons in Japan from 2008-09, and has had 65- and 56-walk seasons in his two years back with the Rangers. He could blow up with a five-walk game at anytime, he said before Friday's game. His manager, Ron Washington, said he does see a different command of the strike zone from Lewis. "He's able to spot his fastball better this year than last year, and he did better last year than the year before," Washington said. "He's competing. It's a matter of knowing who you are."
Andrus heating up while flawless in the field
ARLINGTON -- Rangers shortstop Elvis Andrus is on a good roll, batting close to .300 -- .291 entering Friday -- over the last two weeks to bring his season average to .239.He has reached base in 15 straight games, the fourth-longest streak in the American League this year. He has a stolen base in two straight games. He has walked in five of his last seven games. All of this while handling 82 chances without an error, the most of any shortstop in baseball. "He's starting to have good at-bats," manager Ron Washington said, "Starting to feel comfortable, starting to feel good about himself, starting to understand what he's capable of doing now. In the beginning of the season, you're always searching. You don't know how you're going to come out of the gate. "He's going to catch up, and he's starting to catch up," Washington said. "He's starting to become more aggressive on the basepaths."
Ogando's break should make him stronger
ARLINGTON -- Rangers manager Ron Washington said Friday that Alexi Ogando doesn't need the rest -- he last pitched in relief Sunday against Detroit. But the four days off certainly doesn't hurt."It will do nothing but make him stronger," Washington said. The Rangers aren't going to use Ogando just to throw him, Washington said. And, for instance, the Yankees' lineup set up Wednesday where left-handed rookie Robbie Ross was only going to pitch to six batters at most. The last was left-handed-hitting Robinson Cano, whom Ross entered to face with two outs in the fourth inning. Ross ended up going 2 2/3 scoreless innings, retiring all eight batters he faced. Also, with Ogando, there's not a concern with his sharpness. He had 10 strikeouts and zero walks this season, tied for the most K's without a walk this season in baseball. "It's not going to affect his pitches in the strike zone," Washington said. "He's a strike thrower. It's not like he's a guy that erratic, and now that he doesn't pitch, he's going to be more erratic. That's not him."
Ross is the only pitcher with four relief wins in six appearances, dating back to 1918, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. Right-hander Neftali Feliz, who will make his next start Tuesday in Toronto, was available out of the bullpen Friday after working an inning in relief in Wednesday's 7-3 win over the Yankees. Double-A Frisco shortstop Jackson Profar, the youngest player in the Texas League, had an extra-base hit in six straight games (five doubles, one triple) entering Friday.
The Rangers signed right-handed pitcher Ross Wolf to a Minor League contract Friday and assigned him to Double-A Frisco. Wolf, 29, had appeared in seven games with Double-A Bowie (Baltimore) this season, posting a 6.75 ERA with seven strikeouts before he was released on Monday. The Wabash Valley (Ill.) College product was selected in the 18th round of the 2002 Draft by the Florida Marlins.
Todd Wills is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.