Tateyama could emerge as key cog in bullpen

Tateyama could emerge as key cog in bullpen

ANAHEIM -- The Rangers are still looking for relief pitching and they have scouts keeping track of the Padres' Heath Bell and Mike Adams. The Padres were playing the Marlins this week so that allowed them to watch Florida reliever Leo Nunez as well.

But nothing seems to be imminent, and if the Rangers do have to go with what they have, Yoshinori Tateyama continues to show that he could play an instrumental role in the bullpen. After not pitching for weeks, he took the mound on Wednesday night and pitched two scoreless innings while striking out three.

He has a 3.12 ERA in his last nine outings, allowing seven hits and two walks while striking out 11 in 8 2/3 innings.

Trade Include

"I love his personality," bullpen coach Andy Hawkins said. "He's a great guy and he has a great sense of humor. He's also smart. He's adapting the way he has been pitching his entire career [in Japan] to here in the big leagues and doing an exceptional job. He makes quality pitches and reads hitters. He has good pitching instincts."

The Rangers' desire at the Trade Deadline seems to be acquiring a power right-handed arm to go with Mark Lowe in the setup role. Tateyama is not a power arm. His fastball averages 87 mph, the lowest of any pitcher on the staff. But his 8.6 strikeouts per nine innings is the second highest behind Lowe, who is at 8.7. He also has 20 strikeouts to just two walks.