Oliver carving niche as Rangers' setup man

Oliver carving niche as Rangers' setup man

DETROIT -- Darren Oliver pitched a scoreless eighth inning on Monday in the Rangers' 2-0 victory over the Tigers. He got one of the outs throwing an 86-mph fastball past Alex Avila.

"Slow [radar] gun, man, slow gun," Oliver said. "It had to have been 88 or 89. It was cold and I wasn't quite loose. That might have had something to do with it, but I think it was a slow gun."

Slow or not, Oliver is getting the job done and has settled into the eighth-inning setup role. That was a big question mark when the Rangers moved Alexi Ogando into the rotation, and right now, Oliver has been the answer.

"Right now, he's the one getting it," manager Ron Washington said. "A lot depends on his availability. If he's available, he'll be there. If he's not, we'll go with somebody else. But Ollie has been good for me in the eighth."

But Washington still hasn't figured out everybody's role in the bullpen. These things usually "shake themselves out" in the first month of the season, but there is still a whole lot of shaking going on, especially with right-handers Mark Lowe, Pedro Strop and Mason Tobin.

"I've got to figure out how to get Lowe, Strop and Tobin in the [mix], so I don't have to use [Darren] O'Day, Ollie and [Arthur] Rhodes every night," Washington said. "It will shake out when I know where Strop, Lowe and Tobin fit. If I don't, Ollie will be in 80 games before the All-Star break."