Rangers mull bullpen makeup for playoffs

Rangers mull bullpen makeup for playoffs

ARLINGTON -- The Rangers know they will have four starters and seven relievers making up their pitching staff in the playoffs. They know their four starters will be Cliff Lee, C.J. Wilson, Colby Lewis and Tommy Hunter. They are still mulling the composition of their bullpen and the playoff roster doesn't have to be set until the night before the first game.

"We're going to meet Sunday," manager Ron Washington said. "By then, we'll know what we're going to do."

The Rangers have four spots secure with closer Neftali Feliz, left-handed setup reliever Darren Oliver and right-handers Darren O'Day and Alexi Ogando. They will also likely take Dustin Nippert as their long reliever.

That leaves two spots. Right-hander Mark Lowe could fill one spot. Lowe pitched a scoreless inning Friday in his first appearance since undergoing back surgery in June. He'll get two more appearances in the last three games before the Rangers decide if he's ready. The Rangers like his overpowering stuff but are unsure how much the long layoff has had an impact.

The Rangers want a second left-hander and will choose between Michael Kirkman, Derek Holland, Clay Rapada and Matt Harrison. Kirkman may have the best stuff of the four but was shut down for 11 days in September with a "dead arm."

Rapada is extremely tough on left-handed hitters, but the Rangers aren't sure if they can take a one-batter pitcher. They are also not sure if they can keep both Rapada and Lowe on the playoff roster. One is a one-inning pitcher and the other is a one-hitter pitcher. If the Rangers take Lowe, they would most likely have to take a left-hander who can pitch more than one inning.