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Notes: Tejeda demoted to Triple-A

Notes: Tejeda demoted to Triple-A

ARLINGTON -- Robinson Tejeda has been sent to Triple-A Oklahoma and his return might not be anytime soon.

Tejeda was optioned on Monday to make to room for pitcher John Rheinecker, who will start Game 1 of Tuesday's doubleheader against the Seattle Mariners.

Tejeda was sent down with a record of 5-9 with a 6.61 ERA while averaging 6.3 walks per nine innings. He is 3 2/3 innings short of qualifying to have the highest ERA, walks per nine innings and pitches per nine innings (18.8) in the American League.

Rangers manager Ron Washington made it clear that Tejeda will make at least two starts at Oklahoma and won't be back until he gets some of his problems straightened out.

"It's all going to depend on Tejeda and how he goes down and does what he has to do," Washington said. "We want him to get into a program where he can be consistent with his delivery. He has to make sure he incorporates just one delivery instead of all those different ones that are causing his ball to scatter all over the place."

Tejeda has been in the Rangers' rotation all year but now may fall behind in line. Rheinecker was promoted with a record of 4-2 with a 3.57 ERA in nine starts at Oklahoma. The Rangers may also want to take a look at right-handers Mike Wood, Edinson Volquez and Eric Hurley before the season is over.

That doesn't mean the Rangers are giving up on Tejeda, but he no longer has a lock on one of the spots in the rotation.

"There are no absolutes in the game," general manager Jon Daniels said. "It's a fluid situation. But we felt it was better for Robby and the team to go down and work on some things in an environment conducive to making adjustments."

Rheinecker will start Game 1 of the doubleheader. He could be optioned after the game for left-hander A.J. Murray if the Rangers need relief help or he could remain in the rotation as the fifth starter. But the Rangers, who are off on Thursday and Monday, won't need a fifth starter until Aug. 4 against the Toronto Blue Jays.

Rheinecker said this is a "huge" start for him.

"It could make or break me," Rheinecker said. "There are some other teams looking for pitching, too, and the deadline is coming up."

He also made it clear that he has little left to prove at Triple-A.

"Let's just say Triple-A hitters haven't been getting good swings off me," Rheinecker said.

Wright remembers Coolbaugh: Rangers pitcher Jamey Wright was a teammate with Mike Coolbaugh when they played for the Milwaukee Brewers during the 2001 season. Wright said he was "stunned" when he heard Coolbaugh, a coach for the Double-A Tulsa Drillers, died Sunday after getting hit by a line drive while coaching first base.

"He was a great guy," Wright said. "I just remember him being so excited to be there. I couldn't think of a better guy to have on my staff. He was just an all-around great guy. It was an honor to play with him."

Coolbaugh was originally drafted by the Toronto Blue Jays in 1995 but spent the 1996 season with the Rangers in their farm system. His brother, Scott, played for the Rangers in 1989-90 and is now a coach with the Double-A Frisco Roughriders.

"Obviously, we're going to support him," Daniels said. "Whatever he needs to do, the organization will be behind him."

Dangerous spot: Rangers third-base coach Don Wakamatsu is among those who understand the dangers of coaching the bases when a big-league hitter is standing at the plate. Ian Kinsler and Sammy Sosa are notorious pull hitters who can make a third-base coach nervous when he stands less than 90 feet from home plate.

"I've had four or five come down the line," Wakamatsu said. "But there was one in Orlando ... the ball's right at you and you don't know which way to duck. I felt there was no chance to get out of the way."

The ball missed Wakamatsu, who tries to be prepared on every pitch.

"I move my feet as the ball crosses the plate, just like an infielder, to be in a position to move," Wakamatsu said. "You try to have a feel for what the hitter is doing. You look for a lucky spot and try to be on your toes. But you can't let up. If somebody tells me where that lucky spot is, I'd love to hear it."

He said it: "I love watching him play. I'm a big fan. I'm glad he stayed in Seattle, even though we have to play them 19 times a year. He means a lot to that city." -- shortstop Michael Young, on Ichiro Suzuki

Sunday's Minor League stars:

Gold: Class A Clinton right-hander Omar Poveda took a no-hit bid into the seventh inning but gave up a two-out infield hit. He went eight innings with seven strikeouts in the victory over Cedar Rapids, 4-1, to pick up his 10th win, tied for the league lead with teammate Zach Phillips.

Silver: Right-hander Mike Wood allowed one run on four hits in eight innings, lifting Triple-A Oklahoma over Round Rock, 5-1. Wood is 8-2 with a 2.95 ERA.

Bronze: Catcher Jonathan Greene went 4-for-5 with a home run and four RBIs, leading Class A Spokane past Boise, 11-1.

Briefly: Second baseman Ian Kinsler said he'll start a three-game medical rehabilitation assignment at Frisco on Thursday. ... Akinori Otsuka, on the disabled list with elbow inflammation, threw on flat ground on Monday and will do so again on Wednesday. ... John Gast, the Rangers' fifth-round pick in the 2007 First-Year Player Draft from Longwood, Fla., visited Rangers Ballpark in Arlington on Monday. He has yet to sign.

Up next: The Rangers and Mariners have a doubleheader scheduled for 4:05 p.m. CT on Tuesday. In the first game, Rheinecker pitches for the Rangers against left-hander Ryan Feierabend of the Mariners. In the second game, right-hander Kameron Loe pitches for the Rangers against left-hander Jarrod Washburn.

T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. Associate reporter Drew Davison contributed to this report. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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