Bullpen roles finally defined

Bullpen roles finally defined

Bullpen roles finally defined
SEATTLE -- After much trial and error, Rangers manager Ron Washington believes he finally has defined roles for the seven pitchers in his bullpen. That was not always the case in the first half, but the emergence of Mark Lowe and Tommy Hunter as the right-handed setup relievers has allowed Washington to put his bullpen in order.

Neftali Feliz remains the closer, Lowe is the eighth-inning right-handed setup reliever and Hunter will likely work the sixth and seventh. Hunter can pitch multiple innings while Washington would like to limit Lowe to one.

Darren Oliver will be the left-handed late-inning reliever while Arthur Rhodes will likely be used in matchup situations against left-handed hitters. Rhodes has not allowed a run in his last nine appearances covering 6 2/3 innings. Left-handed hitters are batting .212 off him, while right-handers are hitting .347.

Yoshinori Tateyama will be used in middle relief and in matchup situations against right-handed hitters. Right-handed hitters are batting .205 off him, as opposed to .303 by left-handers. Scott Feldman will be the Rangers' long reliever, used in a similar manner as David Bush early in the season.

The Rangers' biggest concern has been identifying a dependable right-handed setup reliever. But Lowe has seized that job with a 3.12 ERA in his last 10 outings. He has allowed runs in just two of those ten outings.