ARLINGTON -- Starter Tommy Hunter is slated to pitch out of the bullpen in the playoffs, at least in the Rangers' five-game American League Division Series that starts Oct. 6 against either the Tampa Bay Rays or the New York Yankees.
Hunter, who didn't allow a hit over two-thirds of an inning out of the bullpen in Tuesday's 3-1 loss to the Mariners, said before the game that he feels confident he'll be able to handle the move to reliever.
"It doesn't take me long to get ready for a game when I start, so it's just being able to go out there and just go," Hunter said. "I'm going to try and throw hard and throw strikes and try to get out of a jam if I get in one."
The reason Hunter is in the bullpen is the Rangers plan on using Game 1 starter Cliff Lee on three days' rest in the ALDS, throwing him on Oct. 6 and then again on Oct. 10 in Game 4, if necessary. Washington said he and pitching coach Mike Maddux will probably monitor Lee's pitch count for his final regular season start on Friday against the Angels.
"I don't know what it's going to be," Washington said of Lee's pitch count. "He could go out there and throw 80 pitches in nine innings. We'll make sure that stress doesn't set in."
As for Hunter, Washington said he would probably use him for multiple innings out of the bullpen and maybe for multiple games this week to keep his arm stretched out.
Hunter said he has talked to Scott Feldman and Rich Harden, both starters who have gone to the bullpen this season, about what to expect.
"They said, 'Go get outs,'" Hunter said. "That's what they need. I'm going to try and get them."