Tejeda glumly complained of soreness in his right forearm and left hamstring, after giving up four runs in the first inning during his 6-2 loss to the Yankees last Wednesday in New York. The club assessed his concerns, but Washington intimated it might be more a matter of a young pitcher not experienced enough to recognize the difference between ordinary soreness and serious pain.
Next came a series of mixed signals from the 25-year-old.
Two days after his poor outing in New York, Tejeda was already telling staff members he would prefer to stay on his normal schedule and start Monday's game. He was going to get an extra day of rest with Kevin Millwood coming off the disabled list for Monday's start, but suggested Millwood be bumped back another day.
Tejeda had not thrown between starts, but sometime Sunday complained again of soreness in his forearm. He wasn't sure he should start Tuesday, but had no apparent pain on Monday while horsing around with a bat inside the Rangers' clubhouse, imitating Sammy Sosa's batting stance for the laughing slugger.
By then, pitching coach Mark Connor already had suggested keeping the other four starters on their usual schedule, moving everyone up one day and dropping Tejeda into Friday's game, the start of a three-game series in Houston. Washington agreed.
"I just think it's the prudent thing to do," Connor said. "I told (Tejeda) he was holding everybody else up and we needed to get the rotation set."
Trainer Jamie Reed said Tejeda had not been in for treatment Monday and Connor said there was no evidence of a severe injury. He said Tejeda will play catch Tuesday, throw a bullpen session Wednesday and that he was not concerned the pitcher wouldn't be ready by Friday.
"No, because it's muscular," Connor said. "We'll give him the benefit of the doubt, but I think the trainers already alleviated the doubt."
Catalanotto due back:
Outfielder-DH Frank Catalanotto will be activated off the disabled list Tuesday, though he is not yet able to throw because of pain in his right shoulder. Catalanotto will start at DH on Tuesday against Tampa Bay right-hander James Shields, then be an available pinch-hitter when the Rays start left-handers on Wednesday and Thursday.
There will be no DH role when the next series is played under National League rules in Houston starting Friday, but the hope is that Catalanotto will be able to throw and play in the outfield by then.
"I think that's a reasonable goal," he said. "That's what I'm aiming for."
Wood sent down:
As expected, right-hander Mike Wood was optioned back to Triple-A Oklahoma after going 0-1 with a 7.02 ERA in his three starts in place of the injured Kevin Millwood.
Wood ordinarily would have to stay at least 10 days in the minors, but with Millwood re-injuring his left hamstring in his Monday return, Wood could be eligible for an earlier recall if needed.
"My last two outings, I didn't show much," Wood said, referring to consecutive four-inning appearances in losses to the Yankees and Angels. "I know, on paper, it looks really bad. But my goal is to be here and help any way I can. The level of play up here is a big jump from Triple-A. You can't get away with some of the pitches I made up here like I could down there, and it showed."
Keep 'em close: Washington understood that the outcome of Monday's series finale meant the difference between the first-place Angels leaving with a lead over the last-place Rangers of either 4 1/2 or 6 1/2 games. The former was clearly preferable.
"We really haven't hit a (winning) streak yet," said Washington, whose team's longest run of success was sweeping a three-game series from Toronto on May 4-6. "We haven't hit our stride yet. But as long as we stay in striking distance, we'll be all right. There's a lot of good baseball to be played by us that hasn't been played yet. If we can stay 4 1/2 out by the All-Star break, I'm satisfied."
Sunday's Minor Stars:
The top three performances from the Rangers' Minor League teams on Sunday:
Class A Bakersfield catcher Taylor Teagarden went 3-for-4 with three RBIs, and homered for the second consecutive game as the Blaze routed Rancho Cucamonga, 14-4. Teagarden is hitting .391 with four homers and 15 RBIs.
Double-A Frisco third baseman Travis Metcalf was 3-for-5 with one RBI in the RoughRiders' 9-8 loss at Midland.
Triple-A Oklahoma reliever Scott Shoemaker retired all six batters he faced in the RedHawks' 9-7 loss at Tucson.
He said it: "I'm there to work. I eat, sleep and work." -- First baseman Mark Teixeira, eschewing the notion of visiting any of the local theme parks or attractions during the Rangers' three-game series against Tampa Bay starting Tuesday near Orlando
RHP Brandon McCarthy (3-4, 6.89) will oppose Tampa Bay RHP James Shields (3-0, 3.10) in Tuesday's opener of a three-game series being played near Orlando at the Disney Wide World of Sports complex in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. The ballpark is the spring training home of the Atlanta Braves. First pitch is scheduled for 6:10 p.m. CT.