Hunter ready for next start Tuesday

Hunter ready for next start Tuesday

HOUSTON -- Tommy Hunter threw 45 pitches without any problems in a pregame bullpen session on Saturday and is ready to start on Tuesday against the Pittsburgh Pirates.

"I threw well ... complete game, no-hitter," Hunter said. "No, I felt good. No problems. I'm good to go Tuesday."

Hunter left his last start on Wednesday against the Marlins with a strained right hip flexor, pitching just 2 1/3 innings.

The Rangers still haven't officially announced who will pitch on Wednesday, but Dustin Nippert appears to be the guy. That's Rich Harden's spot, but he's on the disabled list with a strained gluteus muscle. Nippert, coming out of the bullpen, started in that spot on Thursday in Florida and will likely start Wednesday unless he is needed in relief before then.

Nippert, who went three innings and threw 74 pitches on Thursday, is still not available as a reliever for Saturday's game. But he could be available on Sunday and Tuesday. If the Rangers end up needing him in relief, they will likely call up Guillermo Moscoso from the Minors to pitch on Wednesday.

"It falls on Moscoso's day, and we wouldn't hesitate to go to him if we need someone," general manager Jon Daniels said. "You know he'll throw strikes and compete.  Basically, we've got to get healthy, and until we do, we'll lean on our depth. It was really encouraging to see the guys rally and get a win out of the 'pen game in Miami.  You just don't want to have to do that too often."

Moscoso is 3-2 with a 3.61 ERA in 10 outings with Triple-A Oklahoma City.