Gabbard ready for Rangers debut

Gabbard to make Rangers debut in finale

Kason Gabbard launches his bid to win a job in the Rangers' 2008 starting rotation when he pitches against the Indians at Jacobs Field on Thursday.

Gabbard, acquired from the Red Sox on Tuesday in a trade for reliever Eric Gagne, is replacing Jamey Wright in the rotation. Gabbard, 25, is 4-0 with a 3.73 ERA in seven starts this year and 5-3 with a 3.65 ERA in 14 games, including 11 starts, in his career.

"I watched a few of his games on video, including one against us, and his stuff is pretty similar to John Rheinecker," pitching coach Mark Connor said. "I like what I've seen. I see a guy who changes speeds when he's behind in the count, and that's so important in the Major Leagues. He locates his fastball and has two offspeed pitches that he throws in any count. Guys who do that are going to be successful.

"I want to see him doing what he has been doing in Boston, a lot of quality starts. We always talked about how nice it would be to have a left-hander. Now we have two, [including Rheinecker]. The bottom line is to get results."

Gabbard said his performance for the Red Sox while they're sitting on top of the American League East has done much to show he can pitch in the big leagues.

"I think my confidence is at the next level," Gabbard said. "But I still have to go out and do the same things I've been doing and give my team a chance to win."

Pitching matchup
TEX: LHP Kason Gabbard (4-0, 3.73 ERA)
Gabbard is making his second straight start against the Indians. He started for the Red Sox against them last Thursday and allowed five runs in 4 2/3 innings. Boston still won the game, 14-9. Opponents are hitting .196 off Gabbard, including .147 by left-handed hitters. He is 3-0 with a 3.03 ERA in five starts in July.

CLE: RHP Jake Westbrook (1-6, 5.85 ERA)
Westbrook is 0-4 with a 4.60 ERA in seven starts since coming off the disabled list on June 24. He missed six weeks with a left abdominal strain. Westbrook has gone eight starts without a victory, the longest stretch of his career. He is 1-3 with a 4.14 ERA in eight starts at home. Opponents are hitting .300 with runners in scoring position, including .387 when there are two outs. He is 4-1 with a 5.30 ERA in nine starts against the Rangers in his career.

Player to watch
Michael Young is 9-for-24 (.375) in his career against Westbrook.

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On the Internet
 Gameday Audio
•  Gameday
•  Official game notes

On television
• FOX 4, (SAP)

On radio
• KRLD 1080, KFLC 1270 (Español)

Up next
• Friday: Rangers (Kevin Millwood, 7-9, 5.95) at Blue Jays (Roy Halladay, 11-5, 4.04), 6:07 p.m. CT
• Saturday: Rangers (Kameron Loe, 5-9, 5.80) at Blue Jays (Shaun Marcum, 7-4, 3.67), 12:07 p.m. CT
• Sunday: Rangers (Brandon McCarthy, 5-7, 5.18) at Blue Jays (Dustin McGowan, 7-5, 4.36), 12:07 p.m. CT

T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.