OAKLAND -- The Rangers are mulling the possibility of altering their rotation and skipping Rich Harden in his next start. But there are no plans right now to take him out of the rotation altogether. "Rich is going to get the ball," manager Ron Washington said before Sunday's game against the A's.
The Rangers have two days off on Monday and Thursday. As it stands, the Rangers won't need a fifth starter until Aug. 17 against Tampa Bay. Harden's next start right now is scheduled for Saturday against the Red Sox, but that could change. "With those off-days we could make some adjustments," manager Ron Washington said. "We haven't decided that yet." The alternative is to stay with the current rotation and let all starters except Cliff Lee get extra rest. Lee pitches every fifth day but giving the other starters extra rest at this point in the season has some appeal to Washington. After Thursday's day off, the Rangers play 20 straight games before their next off-day. "That's when the grind begins," Washington said. Harden went 21/3 innings and allowed three runs in a 6-2 loss to the Athletics on Saturday in his second start since coming off the disabled list. He won his first start, 2-1, with seven strong innings against the Angels in Anaheim the previous Saturday. Derek Holland gives the Rangers an option for their rotation. He threw six scoreless innings for Triple-A Oklahoma City against Salt Lake on Saturday night. He allowed four hits, walked two and struck out three. After missing more than two months because of shoulder inflammation and a sprained knee, Holland is once again a viable option. "He threw the ball well," Washington said. "He was down in the zone and commanded his pitches." Washington said the plan is still for Holland to remain in Oklahoma City for now. "That's where he is," Washington said. "Right now we're getting him ready for his next start at Oklahoma City. We'll see if that changes. I have nothing on that right now." The Rangers still want to give Harden a chance to get going, but aren't likely to wait too long.