Uehara to take on larger role in 'pen

Uehara to take on larger role in 'pen

OAKLAND -- With Alexi Ogando going into the rotation, Koji Uehara becomes the Rangers' primary seventh-inning setup reliever in front of Mike Adams and Joe Nathan. That was Ogando's role before replacing Derek Holland in the rotation.

Uehara earned that role. He went into Thursday's game with a 1.33 ERA, the fifth lowest for a reliever in the American League. Opponents were hitting .130 off him, the third lowest for a reliever. His 0.54 walks and hits per innings pitched (WHIP) was the lowest.

"He has pitched extremely well, now he has a chance to step it up," manager Ron Washington said. "He'll be in the seventh or eighth innings, depending on the availability of Adams. He's done a great job."

Tanner Scheppers was recalled from Triple-A Round Rock to replace Ogando in the bullpen. He'll likely pitch in middle relief, and he can give the Rangers multiple innings. He went two innings in his last outing for Round Rock.

"We know what he can do," Washington said. "We'll see how he reacts when he takes the ball, but our intent is he can give us more than one inning."

Scheppers also assumes another vital role. Since he is the junior member of the bullpen, Robbie Ross no longer has to carry the candy bag and other equipment out to the bullpen while wearing his cowboy outfit.